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The Technical Services 



Harry C. Thomson 
Lida Mayo 


Catalog Card Number: 60-60004 

First Printed 1960-CMH Pub 10-10 

For sale by Lhe Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office 
Washington. D C. 20402 


Stetson Conn, General Editor 

Advisory Committee 

(At of I December 195&) 

Fred Harvey Harrington 
University of Wisconsin 

Maj, Gen. Hugh P. Harris 
U.S. Continental Army Command 

Oron J. Hale 
University of Virginia 

Maj. Gen. Evan M Houseman 
Industrial College of the Armed Forces 

W. Stull Holt 
University of Washington 

Brig. Gen. Bruce Palmer, Jr. 
Army War College 

Bell I. Wiley 
Emory University 

Brig. Gen. Frederick R. Zierath 
Command and General Staff College 

T. Harry Williams 
Louisiana State University 

Col. Vincent J. Esposito 
United States Military Academy 

C. Vann Woodward 
Johns Hopkins University 

Office of the Chief of Military History 

Brig. Gen. James A. Norell, Chief 

Chief Historian Stetson Conn 

Chief, Histories Division Lt. Col. James C. Griffin 

Chief , Publication Division Lt. CoK James R. Hillard 

Editor in Chief Joseph R. Friedman 

Chief, Cartographic Branch Elliot Dunay 

Chief, Photographic Branch Margaret E. Tackley 


• . to Those Who Served 


In cost and bulk, the munitions manufactured by and for the Army's 
Ordnance Department during World War II exceeded the output of all the 
other technical services of the Army combined, and in cost they rivaled that 
for the aircraft and ships with which the war was fought. The process of 
getting these munitions to fighting forces all over the world — of storing them 
until needed, of keeping track of them, and of keeping them in repair — was 
almost as complicated as their manufacture. In writing the story of these two 
main aspects of the Ordnance mission on the home front, the authors have 
produced a record of enduring value; for whatever the character of military 
procurement now and in the future, the problems of producing and distributing 
military equipment on a very large scale remain much the same. 

Since, private industry and civilian labor inevitably are called upon to 
contribute enormously to the making of munitions on any large scale, civilian 
as well as military readers should find much in this volume to instruct them. 
Perhaps its greatest lesson is the long lead time required to get munitions into 
full production, and therefore the need for calculating military requirements 
with the utmost accuracy possible. It is imperative, in this age of international 
tension and partial mobilization, that all of the intricacies of military production 
be clearly understood if the nation is to get the maximum of economy as well 
as security in preparations for its defense. 

Washington, D. C. 
22 September 1959 

Brig. Gen., U.S.A. 
Chief of Military History 


Note on the Authors 

Harry C. Thomson received his doctorate in government from Harvard 
University. During World War II he was a historian with the Army Air 
Forces, serving both as an enlisted man and as a commissioned officer. He 
became a member of the Ordnance Historical Branch in 1948, serving as its 
chief from 1952 until June 1959, when he resigned to become Assistant 
Editor of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. 

Lida Mayo, a graduate of Randolph-Macon Woman's College, served as 
Historian with the Military Air Transport Service from 1946 to 1950, when 
she joined the Ordnance Historical Branch. Except for the years 1954-56, 
when she was Project Historian on the staff of The American University, she 
has continued with the Branch, becoming its chief in June 1959. 



This is the second of a 3-volume series on the role of the Ordnance Depart- 
ment (now Ordnance Corps) in World War II. As the first volume, subtitled 
Planning Munitions for War, 1 gave emphasis to research and development, this 
volume deals with procurement and supply, and the third will describe Ordnance 
operations overseas. It is particularly important for the reader of this volume 
to bear in mind that the first volume includes, in addition to research and 
development, separate chapters on the early history of the Ordnance Depart- 
ment, its organizational and personnel problems during World War II, and its 
efforts to conserve scarce materials such as copper, steel, and aluminum. The 
organizational charts in the earlier volume may be of special assistance to the 
reader not familiar with Ordnance organization. Taken together, the three 
volumes deal with every major aspect of Ordnance history in World War II, 
and give some attention to the prewar years when the art of munitions making 
was sadly neglected. The authors have studiously avoided duplication of material 
in other volumes of the series UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II, 
particularly The Army and Economic Mobilization by R. Elberton Smith. 

In his preface to Charles Ffoulkes' little classic, The Gun-Founders of 
England, Lord Cottesloe observed, on the eve of World War II, "In all that 
has been written about war, but little mention has been made of the making 
of weapons; it is their use which is dramatic and tragic and commands public 
attention." The mystery of such important matters as the invention of gun- 
powder in the 13th century and its employment in crude firearms in the 14th 
century has never been properly unraveled ; nor has the method by which 
medieval chain mail was manufactured in quantity ever been satisfactorily 
explained. Neglect of the armorer's art by historians has been traditional in this 
country as well as in England, owing in part, no doubt, to the reluctance of 
scholars to explore the sooty mysteries of forge and furnace. 

After World War I, this reluctance was reinforced by a strong desire to 
emphasize the pursuits of peace rather than the ways of war and to write new 
' textbooks giving less space to battles and political campaigns and more to 
social, economic, and cultural history. Most professional historians of the 1920's 
and 1930's systematically avoided the study of both warfare and munitions 
manufacture, while a number of journalistic writers turned out lurid accounts 

1 Constanc e McLaughton Green, Harry G. Thomson, and Peter C. Roots, The Ordnance 
Department: \Plannine Munitions lor War\ UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD 
WAR II (Washington, 1955). 


of the evil traffic in arms, labeling its practitioners "Merchants of Death." 
During World War II the life-and-death importance of arms production swept 
away part of the earlier aversion to the subject, and some of the newly 
aroused interest in munitions carried over into the postwar years. But it is still 
true that, in proportion to its significance, remarkably little substantial material 
has been published on the manufacture of munitions. This volume is a modest 
effort to redress the balance. 

With storage, issue, and maintenance — subjects not mentioned in Lord 
Cottesloe's comment but nevertheless implied in it — the situation has been 
much the same. If anything, these topics have appeared less appealing and 
have been less written about. Warehouses, pipelines, inventories, parts catalogs 
— there is nothing glamorous or 'exciting about these subjects unless an in- 
vestigator uncovers fraud or waste. Yet even the most casual student of military 
affairs recognizes that these humdrum activities are an essential link in the 
long chain of supply. They may not win wars, but their neglect or mismanage- 
ment may bring on military disaster. 

A word of explanation is needed for the preponderant emphasis on the 
early years, 1939-43, m tne chapters devoted to procurement (I to XV), and 
on the later years in the Field Service chapters. This emphasis is considered 
justified for the procurement chapters because the early years saw the emer- 
gence of many new problems and led to pioneering efforts to work out solutions. 
"If you do any research on procurement," Brig. Gen. John K. Christmas once 
advised Industrial College students, "don't look at procurement as it was in 
1944. Anybody could do it in 1944. . . . But go back and look at 1940-41, 
and so on, if you want to really do some research on procurement." 2 This 
injunction has been followed and has been found to fit the facts of life on 
the procurement front. With Field Service the opposite has been true. Though 
due attention has been given to the early formative years when the Army, 
swollen by selective service, was training with broomstick rifles and stovepipe 
cannon, the big job for field service came in the latter half of the war when 
factories were pouring out equipment in vast quantities and troops were being 
deployed around the world. Problems in the management of stocks and mainte- 
nance of equipment became critical during the 1943-45 period just as pressure 
on the procurement front eased off. 

Another distinction between the two parts of the volume should be noted. 
As the Industrial Service was organized mainly along product lines — small arms, 
artillery, combat vehicles, and ammunition — the procurement chapters follow, 
with obvious exceptions, the same pattern. The Field Service organization, 
mainly along functional lines, is reflected in the supply chapters on such 
topics/as storage, stock control, and maintenance. Co-ordination of the two has 
proved as difficult in the writing as it was in actual operation during the war. 

Of the procurement chapters all except Chapter VIII were written by Dr. 
Harry C. Thomson; the Field Service chapters (XVI to XXII) and the In- 

2 Lecture, Brig Gen John K. Christmas, Procurement Organization, Policies and Problems 
of the Department of the Army, 2 Nov 48, ICAF, 1-49-36, OHF. 


troduction are the work of Lida Mayo. Both authors were ably supported 
by Mrs. Irene House, whose many services as research assistant were invaluable 
and who wrote most of Chapter VIII on small arms. The entire manuscript was 
typed and retyped with great skill and patience by Mrs. Feril Cummings. 

In the Office of the Chief of Military History, Dr. Stetson Conn, Chief 
Historian, and Mr. Joseph R. Friedman, Editor in Chief of the World War II 
series, gave the utmost assistance in all aspects of the volume's preparation. 
Editing of the manuscript was performed by Carl Brinton Schultz, senior editor, 
most ably assisted by Mrs. Helen Whittjngton, copy editor. Miss Margaret E. 
Tackley chose the photographs. 

Washington, D. C. HARRY C. THOMSON 

22 September 1959 



Chapter Pag' 



Plans for New Facilities 11 

Plans for Decentralized Procurement 13 

Contract Forms and Legal Restrictions 16 

Surveys of Industry 17 

Educational Orders and Production Studies 19 

Conclusion 21 


Procurement Objectives 24 

Placing the First Orders 25 

Activating the District Offices, August 1940 27 

Successes and Failures 29 

Plant Allocations 29 

District- Arsenat-0 CO Relations 31 

Creating New Facilities 32 

Criticisms, Delays, and Difficulties 33 

Engineering Advisory Committees 39 

Big Business vs. Small Business 40 

Status of Rearmament, December 1941 42 


Elements of Requirements Computation 46 

Requirements in the Defense Period, 1940-41 55 

The Army Supply Program, 1942-1944 59 

Introduction of Supply Control, 1944 - 45 64 


Chapter Page 


Artillery on Hand in 1940 69 

Production Preparedness 71 

Launching the Program, 1940-41 74 

The First Year of War 83 

Production Techniques 92 

Fire Control Instruments 95 

Changing Requirements and Types, 1943 - 45 99 

Heavy Artillery 100 


A Government-Owned Ammunition Industry 105 

The Anatomy of Ammunition Production 107 

The Period of Plant Expansion, 1940 - 42 108 

Mefal Components llj 


Operatic of FDAP 125 

Safety 130 

Technological Advances 133 

Balancing Production, 1941-43 140 

The Crisis of 1944-45 144 

In Conclusion: Quality and Quantity 150 


Aid to Britain in 1940 155 

Production Preparedness 156 

Getting the Garand into Production 160 

The Carbine Enters the Picture 168 

Post-Pearl Harbor Requirements 170 

Rifle Production 171 

Carbines 174 

The BAR 178 

Machine Guns 178 

Submachine Guns 181 

The Bazooka Rocket Launcher 182 

Recoilless Rifles 184 

Miscellaneous Items 185 


Dwindling Reserves 190 

Prewar Plans and Operations 191 

Building New Plants, 1940-42 193 

Production Processes and Problems 204 

Surpluses, Cutbacks, and Terminations 217 


Chapter Page 


Early Plans and Preparations 223 

The Upswing in 1940 226 

Doubling the Program in 1941 231 

The All-Out Effort in 1942 233 


Engines 244 

Transmissions 246 

Armor 247 

Light Tanks: M2A4 to M24 250 

The Shift From Grants to Shermans in 1942 252 

Tank Depots 254 

The 1943 - 45 Period 255 

Shift to Heavy Tanks in 1944 -45 259 

The Balance Sheet 262 


The Struggle for Standardization 266 

The Defense Period, 1939 - 41 270 

The First Year of War 280 

Crisis in Heavy-Heavy Trucks, 1943 -45 286 

Special Vehicle Types 292 


Categories of Parts 301 

Spare Parts in Ordnance, 1939 - 42 302 

Spare Parts in the QMC, 1939-42 307 

After the Merger, 1942-45 309 


Inspection Manuals 322 

Recruiting and Training Inspectors 323 

General Somers' Role 325 

Inspection Gages 326 

Proving Grounds 326 

Statistical Quality Control 327 

Commodity Groups 332 


The Walter Scott Case 341 

The Guiberson Case 341 

The International Harvester Case 343 

Organization and Training 344 

The Statutory Base 346 

Action on V -J Day 348 


Chapter Page 


The Pattern for Depots and Maintenance Facilities 352 

The Ordnance Provision System 354 

The Lamp of Experience 359 


Appropriations for Storage in 1940 363 

The First Prewar Ammunition Depots 366 

The Fiscal Year 1942 Program 368 

Opening the New Depots 376 


Storage of General Supplies 379 

The Acquisition of Quartermaster Facilities 383 

Reallocation of Space by ASF 386 

The Changing Pattern of Distribution 387 

The Master Depot System 389 

Instability in Depot Missions 391 


A New Spare Parts Organization 396 

The Use of IBM Machines 396 

The Parts Control Division 398 

Effects of the Motor Vehicle Transfer 399 

The Crisis Early in 1943 401 

Parts Numbering 402 

Interchange ability of Parts 403 

Implementation of the New Numbers Program 405 

A Common Language of Supply 407 


Departures From the Ordnance Provision System 410 

Decentralization of Stock Control 411 

Special Problems of Automotive Parts Supply 413 

The Influence of ASF 415 

Redistribution and Disposal 418 

Stock Control in Retrospect 420 


Means of Identification 423 

Improvements in the Pattern of Distribution 429 


Chapter Page 


Maintenante at the Arsenals 442 

Reorganization of Men and Equipment 443 

The Echelon System 448 

Problems of Automotive Maintenance 450 

The Preventive Maintenance Program 451 

Maintenance Shops 455 

Combined Shops 458 

The Reclamation Program of 1944 461 

Trends in Maintenance Engineering 463 


Appraising the Record 465 

Looking to the Future 472 



INDEX 487 


No. Page 

1. Selected Items From Time Objective, August 1940 25 

2. Selected Ordnance Items Procured, July 1940 -December 1941 .... 43 

3. Examples of Ground Ammunition Day of Supply for Theater 

of Operations, 23 December 1941 49 

4. Summary Tabulation of Ordnance Share of Expenditure Programs ... 56 

5. Presidential Objectives: Ordnance Items, 3 January 1942 61 

6. Decline in Tank Requirements During 1942 64 

7. Selected Ordnance Items, 1942-1943 65 

8. Artillery Available, 30 June 1940 70 

9. Artillery Production, 1 July 1940-31 December 1941 84 

10. Summary of Artillery Production, 1940- 1945 101 

11. Expenditures for Heavy Field Artillery Ammunition, January 

1944 -August 1945 148 

12. Shipments of Selected Types of Artillery Ammunition to the 

European Theater, December 1944 - March 1945 150 

13. Heavy Artillery Ammunition Stocks on Hand in ETO, 31 May 1945 151 

14. Major Types of Ammunition Procured, 1 July 1940 - 31 August 1945 152 


No. Page 

15. Rifle Production, 1940- 1945 174 

16. Machine Gun Production, 1940-1945 . 181 

17. Small Arms Ammunition Production, 1940-1945 189 

18. Estimated Yearly Capacity of Frankford Arsenal 193 

19. Tank Production by Facility, 1940-1945 242 

20. U.S. Tank Production, 1944 - 1945 262 

21. Comparative Table of German, British, and American Tank 

Production, 1940 - 1945 263 

22. Production of Heavy-Heavy Trucks by Month, 1943-1944-1945 . . . 290 

23. Production of Motor Transport Vehicles, 1939 - 1945 296 

24. Dollar Value of Ordnance Contract Terminations: As of 31 

December 1945 349 


1. ETO Authorized Levels and Theater Stocks: Ground Ammunition 149 

2. Spare Parts Buying for Tank Combat and Motor Transport 

Vehicles, 1940-1945 317 


Senator Henry Cabot Lodge Aboard Medium Tank M2 3 

Maj. Gen. James K. Crain 6 

Maj. Gen. Charles T. Harris, Jr 7 

The Fourteen Ordnance Procurement Districts 14 

Assistant Secretary of War Louis Johnson 17 

Inspecting a 75-mm. Pack Howitzer 71 

Major Caliber Gun Shop at Watervliet 75 

Platform for 90-mm. AA Gun Carriage 78 

M3 Medium Tank Mounting a 75-mm. Gun 82 

The Priest, a 105-mm. Howitzer Motor Carriage M7 89 

Night Construction Operations 106 

A 500-pound Demolition Bomb 118 

A 22,000-pound Semi-armor-piercing Bomb 119 

Box of Bulk TNT 132 

Inspector at Volunteer Ordnance Works 133 

Workmen Pouring Molten TNT Into 155-mm. Shells 139 



Saginaw Gun Plant 157 

John C. Garand 161 

Producing Carbine Barrels 176 

Completed Carbines 177 

John C. Browning, Gun Inventor 179 

Officer Candidates at Fontainebleau 183 

Loading a 57-mm. Recoilless Rifle 185 

Small Arms Ammunition Industry 201 

Lead Slugs for ,45-caliber Bullets 206 

Maj. Gen. Thomas J. Hayes 209 

.50-caliber Machine Gun Ammunition in Fabric Belts 214 

Detroit Tank Arsenal Under Construction 229 

General Sherman M4A1 Medium Tank Assembly Line 236 

General Grant M3 Medium Tank Assembly Line 237 

Overhead Crane Lowering a General Stuart M3 Light Tank 243 

Remanufacturing Light Tanks M3A3 258 

Heavy Tank M6 260 

Assembling 2'/2-ton Trucks 276 

Jeep, Vi-ton 4x4 Truck 278 

Dukw, 2 l /2-ton Amphibian Truck 285 

Half-track Cars M2 294 

Cartoon by Bill Mauldin 298 

Maj. Gen. Levin H. Campbell, Jr 306 

Laboratory Foreman Loading 37-mm. Antitank Gun 328 

Large-Caliber Ammunition in Storage 353 

Igloos at Umatilla 369 

San Jacinto Ordnance Depot Dock Area 370 

Inside Storage of 1^5-mm. Shells 374 

Outside Storage of 100-pound Bombs 375 

Open-type Storage Sheds 382 

Ordnance Storage Facilities 384 

Brig. Gen. Julian S. Hatcher 401 

Soldiers Looking up SNL Numbers 424 

Convoy of Ordnance Maintenance Trucks 441 

Trucks of Newly Formed Ordnance Battalion 446 

"Joe Dop"e" Posters 454 

All illustrations are from the files of the Department of Defense except for the 
cartoon by Bill Mauldin on page 298 and the photographs from the American 
Ordnance Association on pages 82, 179, and 441. 





"Nobody can see through this curtain of 
battle smoke that enshrouds the earth to- 
day," cried a member of the U.S. House 
of Representatives on 10 May 1940, the 
morning Hitler invaded the Low Coun- 
tries. As the early news bulletins came 
over the radio, the first reaction in America 
was shock. On succeeding days, as news 
reports described the full weight of the 
offensive — the great thunder and roar of 
tanks, artillery, and dive bombers crushing 
Luxembourg, Belgium, and the Nether- 
lands, and rolling toward France and the 
English Channel — shock became alarm. 
Another Representative expressed the gen- 
eral feeling when he shouted, "Hell is out 
of bounds!" 1 

Speculations that would have seemed 
fantastic a few months before suddenly be- 
came horrifying possibilities: that Hider 
would quickly defeat Britain and France; 
that Japan would move to seize the Neth- 
erlands East Indies and Malaya; and that 
the United States would soon stand alone, 
virtually isolated in a world of hostile dic- 
tatorships, "the last great Democracy on 
earth." 2 How well would the United States 
be able to defend itself if attacked? What 
weapons did it have? 

Congress had the answer as of 1 May 
1940, submitted by the War Department 
at hearings on the military appropriations 
bill for Fiscal Year 1 94 1 . When the figures 
came out in late May, on the floor of Con- 

gress and in the published hearings, they 
caused an uproar. There were not enough 
effective antiaircraft guns to defend a single 
large American city.- There were coast- 
defense guns for most large coastal cities 
but some of them had not been fired for 
twenty years, and all could be bombed out 
of existence by carrier-based airplanes. As 
for field artillery, there were about 5,000 
French 75's left over from World War I, 
but nearly all of them were mounted on 
big wooden wheels with steel tires made to 
be drawn by mules or horses. Such guns 
would be shaken to pieces if towed by a 
truck or tractor at high speed over rough 
ground; furthermore, they did not have 
sufficient traverse or elevation to be fully 
effective. Only 141 had been modernized 
with improved carriages and pneumatic 
tires. The 105-mm. howitzer, a companion 
piece to the 75-mm. gun as primary divi- 
sional artillery, was just going into produc- 
tion. There were none on hand, and it 
would take fourteen to sixteen months to 
produce the 48 for which funds had been 
provided. There were only four modernized 

1 ( 1 ) Congressional Record, vol. 86, pt. 6, 76th 
Cong., 3d sess., pp. 5916, 6560; (2) Time, May 
27, 1940, pp. 17-18. 

1 Walter Lippmann quoted in Time, May 20, 
1940, p. 15. By 27 May a Gallup poll showed that 
U.S. confidence in an Allied victory had dropped 
from 82 percent to 55 percent. 



155-mm. guns, and no modern 8-inch how- 
itzers. 3 

And what of the ability of the U.S. Army 
to wage tank warfare, so brilliantly em- 
ployed by the Germans? Senator Henry 
Cabot Lodge, just returned from maneu- 
vers in Louisiana, reported to the Senate: 
"I have recently seen all the tanks in the 
United States, about 400 in number, or 
about one finger of the fanlike German ad- 
vance about which we have read, or about 
the number destroyed in two days of fight- 
ing in the current European War. The 
Germans have a rough total of 3,000." 
Furthermore, almost all American tanks 
were of the light type, weighing only 1 o or 
12 tons. Little was authoritatively known 
about German tanks; some were said to be 
80-ton monsters. The Army believed that 
37-mm. antitank guns would be effective 
against them. But the United States had 
only 2 1 8 guns of this type, 4 

The brightest spot in the dark picture 
was the small arms situation. There were 
enough machine guns ; and there were some 
two and a half million rifles. About 35,000 
of the rifles were new Garand semiauto- 
matics, and the number was increasing 
steadily; 4,000 a month were being turned 
out at Springfield Armory. The new rapid- 
firing rifle had received high praise from 
no less a personage than Vice President 
John N. Garner, who had used it in deer 
hunting. 5 

All types of weapons needed ammunition 
in unprecedented quantities to wage blitz- 
krieg warfare. The figures for ammunition 
on hand were as discouraging as those for 
artillery. Congress was told that there were 
only 46,000 rounds for 37-mm. antiaircraft 
guns, 75,000 for 37-mm. tank and antitank 
guns, about 17 million of .30-caliber armor- 
piercing ammunition, and about 25 million 
of .50-caliber ball ammunition. The sud- 

den, crucial importance of the bomber 
threw a glaring light on the pitifully small 
stock of bombs. There were only 1 1 ,928 
bombs of the 500-lb. size and only 4,336 of 
the 1,000-lb. type. 6 

Alarmed and angry, Congress, the press, 
and the public demanded to know the 
reason for the low state of the nation's de- 
fenses. Since 1933 there had been mount- 
ing appropriations for defense, the largest 
peacetime appropriations for military pur- 
poses in the history of the United States. 
Where had the money gone? When Presi- 
dent Roosevelt stood before a joint session 
of Congress on 16 May 1940 to ask for 
over a billion dollars more, his program 
was almost unanimously approved by the 
lawmakers and the press. But some mem- 
bers of Congress were demanding to know 
whether new appropriations would "go 
down the same rat hole into which we have 
poured $7,000,000,000 . . . during the last 
6 years." 7 

The Army's answer was that about 
three-fourths of the $3,400,000,000 appro- 
priated for the Army had gone for such 
things as pay, subsistence, and travel ex- 
penses, — "merely a case of the American 
standard of living applied to the mainte- 

3 Hearings Before the Subcommittee of the Sen- 
ate Committee on Appropriations on H.R. 9209, 
Military Establishment Appropriation Bill for 
1941, 76th Cong., 3d sess., pp. 221-24. (Hereafter 
Congressional Hearings on Army appropriation 
bills will be cited as WDAB, S. or H.R.) 

4 ( 1 ) Congressional Record, vol. 86, pt. 6, 76th 
Cong., 3d sess., pp. 6130-39, 6877; (2) WDAB, 
S., 76th Cong., 3d sess., p. 223. 

5 Maj Gen Charles M. Wesson's 11 O'Clock 
Conf Min, 1 Apr 40, OHF. (Hereafter Minutes 
of the Wesson Conferences are cited as Min, Wes- 
son Confs. ) 

* WDAB, S., 76th Cong., 3d sess-, p. 422. 

7 Congressional Record, vol. 86, pt. 6, 76th 
Cong., 3d sess., pp. 6163, 6776, 6830-31. See also 
critical comments by Arthur Krock in The New 
York Times, May 16, 1940, p. 22. 



Senator Henry Cabot Lodge Aboard Medium Tank M2 of the 67th Armored 
Regiment. Officer in left foreground is Lt. Col. Omar N. Bradley, (Photograph taken May 

nance of a volunteer army scattered over a 
tremendous number of small posts." 8 Some 
of the money, a small proportion, had gone 
into munitions, but weapons were not yet 
coming off the production lines, for they 
could not readily be obtained from com- 
mercial sources, as could food and uni- 
forms, and were hard to manufacture. A 
year earlier General Malin Craig, then 
Chief of Staff, had stressed the inexorable 
demands of time in weapons manufacture: 
"the sums appropriated this last year will 
not be fully transformed into military pow- 
er for two years." 9 Besides, as one Senator 
pointed out in defense of the War Depart- 
ment, America had not been "under the 
same strain, nor in the same sphere as the 
warring nations of Europe. We prepared 
ourselves for national defense and not to 
invade Belgium and Holland." 10 

Yet nothing could quiet the outcries over 
"popgun defense," not even the President's 
steady, reassuring voice telling the country 
over the radio in a fireside chat that the 
United States had "on hand or on order" 
792 tanks, 744 antitank guns, 741 modern- 
ized 75's, and 2,000 antiaircraft guns. The 
press was quick to point out that most of 
the tanks were light rather than medium 
or heavy, that more than half the antiair- 
craft guns were .50-caliber machine guns, 
good only against low-flying aircraft, and, 

8 Testimony of Gen. George C. Marshall, CofS, 
May 17, 1940, in WDAB, S., 76th Cong., 3d 
sess., p. 429. 

9 Gen. Malin Craig, "Our Present Military Po- 
sition," (extracts from final report to SW, 30 Jun 
39), Army Ordnance, (now Ordnance), XX, No. 
116 (September-October 1939), 89. 

10 Congressional Record, vol. 86, pt. 6, 76th 
Cong., 3d sess., p. 6165. 



most important of all, that only a small 
percentage of all weapons were actually on 
hand. Complete delivery of the weapons 
"on order" could not be expected before 
June 1 941. 

At the current rate of delivery, the 
$34.8,228,998 just appropriated for ord- 
nance could not be translated into antiair- 
craft guns, tanks, field artillery, powder, 
and shells until June 1942. Recalled to 
Senate hearings, General Marshall gave a 
more optimistic (and prophetic) date; he 
thought the nation could be ready for war 
by December 1 941. 11 "I am terribly disap- 
pointed in the attitude of the Army," said 
one Senator. "Their ambition is to get 
ready in a period of 18 or 24 months, when 
we are living in a period of wars being set- 
tled in 30 days." 12 

The agency responsible for developing, 
procuring, and distributing the Army's 
weapons and ammunition was the Ord- 
nance Department. One of the supply serv- 
ices of the War Department, Ordnance 
consisted of a headquarters staff in Wash- 
ington and numerous field installations, 
including manufacturing arsenals, storage 
depots, and procurement district offices in 
major cities. 18 It was headed by a major 
general who reported on procurement mat- 
ters to the civilian Assistant Secretary of 
War (later Under Secretary) and on mili- 
tary matters to the Chief of Staff through 
G-4. The line between military and pro- 
curement matters was not always distinct. 
But as a general rule decisions as to types 
and quantities of weapons needed for each 
unit of the Army were looked upon as mili- 
tary matters, while decisions as to con- 
tracts, financing, and production schedules 
were regarded as procurement matters. As 
a supply service (later technical service) 
the Ordnance Department had little au- 
thority for independent action except in 

the execution of directives from the Assist- 
ant Secretary or the Chief of Staff. Ord- 
nance might advise and suggest on the 
development of new weapons, but the final 
decision was made by the Chief of Staff on 
the basis of recommendations of the using 
arms— the Infantry, the Coast and Field 
Artillery, the Air Corps, and the Cavalry or 
Armored Force. 14 

How good a job would it do in this 
crisis? Some commentators had doubts. 
The Chicago Tribune denounced "Army 
and Navy bureaucrats." Time, contending 
that most generals were still thinking in 
terms of horse warfare, made the point that 
money was not the only cure for unpre- 
paredness and that brains were needed as 
well as weapons. Others argued that if the 
nation was unprepared the fault lay rather 
in the apathy of the public than in the 
attitude of the Army or the caliber of the 
professional officer. Even so severe a critic 
as Senator Lodge had been impressed by 
the officers who had testified at committee 
hearings on the appropriations bill. 15 

11 (1) Editorial, "Editors Approve President's 
Defense Plan; Score 'Fireside' Talk," Army and 
Navy Journal, LXXVII, 40, June r, 1940; (a) 
Time, May 27, 1940, p. 14, and June 3, 1940, 
p. 17. 

1S WDAB, S., 76th Cong., 3d sess,, p. 191. 

13 The other supply arms and services in 1940 
were the Chemical Warfare Service, Corps of 
Engineers, Medical Department, Quartermaster 
Corps, and Signal Corps. 

14 Constance McLaughlin Green, Harry C. 
Thomson, and Peter C. Roots, The Ordnance 
Department: Planning Munitions for War, 
II (Washington, 1955), |ch. IV| (hereafter cited 
as Green, Thomson, and Roots, Planning Muni- 
tions for War). 

15 ( 1) WDAB, S., 76th Cong., 3d sess., p. aa6; 
(a) Congressional Record, vol. 86, pt. 6, 76th 
Cong., 3d sess., p. 5943; (3) Time, June 3, 1940. 
p. 14. 



One of these was Maj. Gen. Charles M. 
Wesson, Chief of Ordnance. Another was 
Brig. Gen. Charles T. Harris, Jr., who, as 
the Chief of the Ordnance Department's 
Industrial Service, was the man in charge 
of procuring the weapons and ammunition. 
A stocky, plain-spoken, hard-driving officer, 
he was, in the opinion of one high-ranking 
Army official, "the dynamo of Ordnance." 
His years of experience in the Office of the 
Assistant Secretary of War — the Army's 
agency for industrial planning — had given 
him an excellent grasp of the first and most 
important rearmament task, which was to 
put industry to work. Just as nobody ex- 
pected to fight a war with the small Regu- 
lar Army, nobody expected the six Ord- 
nance arsenals to turn out more than a 
small portion of the munitions that would 
be needed, perhaps 5 percent. After years 
of neglect, they were at last being renovat- 
ed. But to one Senator, who had recently 
inspected Ordnance installations, the ar- 
senals "looked like ... a plant that had 
been abandoned for 20 years, and then a 
bunch of men were feverishly trying to get 
them back into shape to start produc- 
tion." 18 They were valuable mainly as 
centers of technical knowledge where the 
art of design was kept alive and produc- 
tion was maintained on a laboratory basis. 

For the past eighteen years the Office of 
the Assistant Secretary of War had been 
planning a training program for industry 
that was comparable to the peacetime train- 
ing of the Reserves, and Ordnance had the 
lion's share. The most fruitful part of the 
early program for Ordnance wartime ex- 
pansion consisted of small orders given to 
qualified manufacturers to educate them in 
the intricacies of munitions manufacture. 
Under the Fiscal Year 1939 program, edu- 
cational orders had been placed for semi- 
automatic rifles, recoil mechanisms for 

the 3-inch antiaircraft gun, and 75-mm. 
shells; 17 and by the spring of 1940 the re- 
sults were beginning to come in. In March 
General Harris was able to bring a shell 
made by the S. A. Woods Company to the 
daily Ordnance conference in General Wes- 
son^ office, where it was passed around and 
examined with much interest. 18 Advance 
planning enabled Ordnance 1 production to 
get off to a fast start before tool and mate- 
rials shortages and low priorities put a 
brake on the program. 

In the old Munitions Building on Wash- 
ington's Constitution Avenue, a World War 
I temporary structure where all the supply 
services were housed, General Harris and 
Brig. Gen. Earl McFarland, chief of Ord- 
nance's Military Service, met with General 
Wesson every morning to hear reports of 
staff officers and discuss Ordnance policy. 
Just as the Industrial Service was the point 
of contact with industry, under the Office 
of the Assistant Secretary of War, the Mili- 
tary Service was the point of contact with 
the Chief of Staff and the using arms and 
services. This contact was of great impor- 
tance, for Ordnance received its guidance 
and approval on matters of weapons de- 
velopment from the using arms. 

At the time the Germans invaded the 
Low Countries, the storage, distribution, 
and maintenance duties of Ordnance were 
delegated to an office under General Mc- 
Farland that was designated Field Service 
and was headed by Col. James K. Crain. 
The following year Field Service was raised 
to the same level as Industrial Service, and 

16 WDAB, S„ 76th Cong., 3d sess., p. 34, 

17 (1) WDAB, S., 76th Cong., 3d sess., pp. 
130-31 and 141-46; (2) Col. Harry K. Ruther- 
ford, "Industry's Manual of Arms: A Progress 
Report on the Educational Orders Program," 
Army Ordnance, XX, No. 120 (June-July 1940), 

18 Min, Wesson Confs., at Mar 40. 

Maj. Gen. James K. Crain, Chief of 
Ordnance Department's Field Service. 
(Photograph taken October 1944.) 

Colonel Crain was soon to become a briga- 
dier general. 19 A slender, thoughtful man, 
a few years older than General Harris, 
Colonel Crain looked more like a college 
professor than an Army officer. He had 
had long service in the field, beginning 
with his assignment as Chief Ordnance 
Officer of the Rainbow Division in World 
War I, 20 and had recently engineered an 
innovation in field maintenance organiza- 
tion by grouping Ordnance companies 
into an Ordnance battalion. The battalion 
was tried for the first time in the spring 
1940 maneuvers, and Colonel Crain, on 
the scene as Corps Ordnance Officer, saw 
that it was successful. 21 

Though after the blitzkrieg the maneu- 
vers that spring seemed to the press "more 
unreal than most such playing at soldiers," 
and against the background of Europe's 
total war "the U.S. Army looked like a few 


nice boys with BB guns," 22 yet there were 
presages of the World War II Army. Gone 
were the khaki breeches and wrapped put- 
tees, replaced by loose trousers; almost en- 
tirely departed were the horse and mule. 
For the first time in history the Army was 
equipped with enough motor transporta- 
tion to carry weapons and men, food, and 
ammunition ; and the star of the Air Corps 
was rising. 

The coming of age of air power had a 
definite impact on the Ordnance Depart- 
ment. Bomb cases and fuzes formed a large 
part of the educational orders under the 
Fiscal Year 1940 program; 23 and, since in- 
dustry had cut down the time of making 
bomb bodies to six months, quick results 
could be expected from production or- 
ders. 24 Prospects for new and more power- 
ful bomb fillings were being explored. In 
mid- January 1940 Dr. Lyman J. Briggs of 
the Bureau of Standards had called on 
General Wesson about obtaining three 
thousand dollars "for the purpose of ,split- 
ting the uranium atom." It seemed to Ord- 
nance that the development had "possibili- 
ties from an explosive viewpoint." 25 

18 For the organization and the research and 
development activities of the Ordnance Depart- 
ment, see Green. T homson, and Roots, Planning 
\Munitions for War\ 

20 "New Ordnance Strength," Army Ordnance, 
XXI, No. 12J (November-December 1940), 214- 

21 (1) Min, Wesson Confs, 3 Apr. 40; (2) 
Capt. Joseph M. Colby IComdr, Ord Bn, Fourth 
Army Corps], "The New Ordnance Battalion: 
Maintenance and Supply in the Streamlined Divi- 
sion," Army Ordnance, XXI, No. 133 (Novem- 
ber-December 1940), 908-13. 

22 Time, May 27, 1940, p. 19. 

23 Rutherford, "Industry's Manual of Arms," 
Army Ordnance, XX, No. 120 (June-July 1940), 

24 WDAB, S., 76th Cong., 3d sess,, p. 4=- 

25 Min, Wesson Confs, 15 Jan 40. For a de- 
tailed account of Ordnance participation in early 
atomic bomb work, see Arthur Adelman, Fission 
Explosives, 30 Jun 44, OHF. 



A few months later Mr. Lester P. Bar- 
low, an employee of the Glenn L. Martin 
aircraft factory, submitted to the Senate 
Committee on Military Affairs a bomb 
filled with liquid oxygen. Called "glmite" 
in honor of Mr. Martin, the explosive was 
said to give off violent vibrations of the air 
waves that would kill every living thing 
within a radius of a thousand yards. Sena- 
tor Gerald P. Nye was so impressed that 
he called in reporters to watch while min- 
utes of the committee meeting were burned 
■ — "so great was the military secrecy of the 
subject ! ... an explosive so deadly it might 
even outlaw war ! ! !" 20 

Tests of the Barlow bomb took up a 
good deal of the time of Ordnance planners 
in April and May, extending down into the 
most anxious weeks in May. When the 
newspapers announced that goats would 
be tethered at varying distances from the 
bomb to determine its lethal effects, Con- 
gress and the War Department were del- 
uged with letters of protest from humane 
societies and private citizens. 27 All the 
concern turned out to be wasted. At the 
first test, the bomb leaked and did not go 
off; at the second, held at Aberdeen Prov- 
ing Ground in late May, the explosion oc- 
curred, but the goats, unharmed, continued 
to nibble the Maryland grass. 28 

In a few days' time, such matters as 
cruelty to goats became trivial. On 3 June 
the British were driven off the Continent 
at Dunkerque. On 8 June the Ordnance 
Department received instructions to load 
twelve Thompson submachine guns on the 
Atlantic Clipper scheduled to leave for 
Europe the next day; the guns were for 
protection of the American Embassy in 
Paris. But it was already too late; the order 
was canceled by the President almost as 
soon as given. 29 Paris surrendered on 14 

Maj. Gen. Charles T. Harris, Jr., 
Chief of the Ordnance Department's Indus- 
trial Service, 1939-42. 

The fall of France marked the real begin- 
ning of America's rearmament. Once the 
tremendous Munitions Program of 30 June 
1940 became effective, dwarfing all previ- 
ous programs, there was an unheard-of ex- 
pansion in Ordnance operations. Factories 
had to be converted into armories; am- 
munition plants, magazines, and depots 
built ; huge stocks of weapons and ammuni- 
tion distributed. And there was never 
enough time. It took an inexorable number 
of months to build a powder plant, make 
a tank, or fill a requisition, in spite of the 

28 Editorial, Army Ordnance, XXI, No. 121 
(July-August 1940), 45- 

27 Min, Wesson Confs, 6, 11, 12 and 19 Apr; 2 
and 13 May 40. 

28 (1) Editorial, Army Ordnance, XXI, No. mi 
(July-August 1940), 45; (2) Time, May 27, 1940, 
p. 21. 

29 Min, Wesson Confs, 10 Jun 40. 



most strenuous efforts of hard-pressed men Building and later in the new Pentagon, 
to speed up the machinery of supply. At there was always present the haunting 
Ordnance conferences in the old Munitions specter of Time, 


Procurement Planning 

Planning for military preparedness in 
the United States before World War II 
differed somewhat from planning by Euro- 
pean military establishments. The differ- 
ences stemmed largely from two factors: 
lack of a munitions industry in this country 
comparable to those of the major European 
nations, and American emphasis on mainte- 
nance of a small Regular Army backed by 
a modest reserve of war supplies. War De- 
partment planners had for many years as- 
sumed that, in event of war, the United 
States would have time to mobilize its re- 
serves both of manpower and of industrial 
production, and would not need to main- 
tain either a large standing army or large 
stores of munitions. Quantities of materiel 
left over from World War I were kept in 
storage during the 1920's and 1930's, but 
ammunition gradually deteriorated and 
weapons became outmoded. With each 
passing year, therefore, the Ordnance De- 
partment gave more attention to develop- 
ment of plans for speedy conversion of 
private industry to new munitions produc- 
tion in time of war. Ordnance procurement 
plans provided essential background for the 
vast rearmament effort launched in 1940. 1 

In spite of the injunction of the National 
Defense Act of 1920 to plan in advance for 
military supply, the War Department 
found the climate of opinion in the United 
States during the 1920's and 1930's not at 
all favorable to such planning. 2 The Plan- 
ning Branch in the Office of the Assistant 

Secretary of War, headed in the middle 
1930's by Col. Charles T. Harris, Jr., pro- 
vided official encouragement for procure- 
ment planning, but its activities were 
strictly limited. During the years when 
hopes for peace were high, and military 
budgets low, this agency managed to keep 
alive the system of district procurement 
offices within the supply services and to 
promote arrangements with industry for 

1 ( 1 ) Lt. Col. Gladeon M. Barnes, "Procurement 
Planning," Army Ordnance, XVIII, No. 103 
(July-August 1937), 22-23; (2) Maj. Gen. 
Charles M. Wesson, "Fundamentals of Prepared- 
ness," Army Ordnance, XIX, No. 114 (May-June 
"939), 389-32; (3) Col. James H. Burns, "Pro- 
duction is Preparedness," Army Ordnance, XX, 
No. 1 1 5 (July-August 1939), 9-1 1 ; (4) Capt. 
Paul D. Olejar, Procurement Planning for War- 
Ordnance, May 44, a monograph prepared in the 
Ordnance Historical Branch, OCO. For a broad 
survey of the subject from the Army level, see R. 
Elberton Smith, The Army and Economic Mobili- 
WAR II (Washington, 1959), Chapters II-IV. A 
comparable Navy volume is Robert H. Connery, 
The Navy and the Industrial Mobilization (Prince- 
ton: Princeton University Press, 1 95 1 ) . An inter- 
esting essay by Troyer S. Anderson, The Influence 
of Military Production and Supply Upon History, 
may be found in OCMH files. 

2 The effect of public o pinion on th e War De- 
partment is discussed in I chapter II I of Green, 
Thomson, and Roots, Planning Munitions for 
War, and in Mark S. Watson, Chief of Staff: Pre- 
war Plans and Preparations UNITED STATES 
ARMY IN WORLD WAR II (Washington, 
1950)1 ch. VI (hereafter cited as Watson, Chief of 
Staff). See also summary of testimony before the 
Special Comm., Investigating the National De- 
fense Program, S. Rpt No. 440, pt. 4, 80th Cong., 
2d sess., 28 Apr 48, p. 292ff. 



converting to war production. 8 By the 
spring of 1940 a change of popular senti- 
ment was taking place; the American peo- 
ple were demanding more adequate nation- 
al defense, but they still found the thought 
of planning for another war extremely dis- 

The neutrality legislation of the 1930's 
had reflected the public's mood by forbid- 
ding shipment of American arms to other 
nations. Though the ban was altered in 
November 1939 to permit warring nations 
to purchase munitions in this country, all 
transactions had to be on a cash-and-carry 
basis. Under these circumstances, the Brit- 
ish and French purchasing commissions 
made few contracts for munitions before 
June 1940, preferring to shop around for 
more favorable prices and to use the United 
States as a source of aircraft, machine 
tools, and scarce raw materials. 4 It was 
only after the disastrous defeats of May 
and June 1940 that the British plunged 
into an "arms at any price" buying cam- 
paign. Meanwhile the build-up of muni- 
tions for the U.S. Army was proceeding 
cautiously but picking up speed. Using 
a financial yardstick, General Wesson 
summed it up in the fall of 1939 as follows: 

In the fiscal year 1938 approximately $25,- 
000,000 was expended for the procurement 
of Ordnance material. In the fiscal year 1939 
approximately $50,000,000 has been and is 
being expended for like purposes. In the fiscal 
year 1940 a total of approximately $150,- 
000,000 has been made available. . . . 5 

The depression of the 1930's had a very 
real, though indirect, influence on procure- 
ment planning. Since most industries were 
operating far below their normal capacity 
during the depression, Army planners tend- 
ed to look upon the unused portion of the 
nation's industrial plant as an immediately 
available reserve for war production. 6 Un- 

used industrial capacity was, of course, far 
more readily available for Quartermaster 
items, which were largely commercial in 
nature, than for Ordnance items. But the 
existence of idle factories, tools, and man- 
power throughout nearly the whole decade 
of the 1930's served to condition all plan- 
ning for war procurement. It placed pri- 
mary emphasis on utilization of existing 
capacity, rather than on building addi- 
tional plants, and tended to minimize esti- 
mates of the probable impact on the civil- 
ian economy of a war production program. 
It gave rise to the belief, still widely held 
in 1940, that the capacity of American in- 
dustry was great enough to support both 
a war economy and a peace economy, or, 
to employ the language popular at the 
time, to produce "both guns and butter." 7 

3 ( 1 ) Testimony of Brig. Gen. Charles T. Har- 
ris, Jr., in WDAB, S., 76th Cong., 3d sess., pp. 129 
ff; (2) Ltr, CofOrd to ASW, 20 Sep 39, sub: 
Readiness of the Ord Dept. . . , OO 381/27800 
ASW. For a critical evaluation of the War De- 
partment's procurement planning, see Harry B. 
Yoshpe, "Economic Mobilization Between the Two 
World Wars," Military Affairs, Winter 1951, pp. 
199-204, and Summer 1952, pp. 71-83. 

4 For an account of these purchases, see ( 1 ) 
Richard M. Leighton and Robert W. Coakley, 
Global Logistics and Strategy, 1940-1943, UNI- 
(Washington, 1955), ch. I; (2) Watson Pierce, 
Foreign Purchasing Competition Before the Lend- 
Lease Act, ICAF Research Project RP No. 28, 
July 1946. By 28 December 1940 British orders for 
machine tools, explosives, propellants, ammuni- 
tion, tanks, and other ordnance equipment totaled 
nearly $800,000,000. See also Lt Col John N. Lyle, 
Historical Review of Lend Lease Activities, Small 
Arms and Small Arms Ammunition, 17 Jul 45, 

5 Ltr, CofOrd to ASW, 20 Sep 39, sub: Readi- 
ness of the Ord Dept to Meet the Requirements of 
a Major Emergency, OO 381/27800 ASW. 

" Lecture, Maj Ray M. Hare, The Allocations 
Division, OASW, 8 Jan 40, ICAF. See also History, 
Rochester Ordnance District, I, p. 15. 

7 For discussion of this point from the level of 
the National Defense Advisory Commission, see 
Civilian Production Administration, Industrial 



Ordnance devoted far more attention to 
procurement planning during the interwar 
years than did any of the other Army sup- 
ply services. In the early 1920's Ordnance 
officers took a leading part in the establish- 
ment of the Army Industrial College, and 
throughout the interwar years they held 
key positions in the Planning Branch of 
the Office of Assistant Secretary of War. 8 
Through its many procurement district of- 
fices Ordnance kept officially in touch with 
industry in all parts of the nation while 
the Army Ordnance Association, on a 
semiofficial level, promoted public interest 
in industrial preparedness. In fiscal year 
1 939, Ordnance Department procurement 
planning (including educational orders) 
accounted for about $8,000,000 of the 
$9,275,300 allocated for all War Depart- 
ment (including Air Corps) procurement 
planning for that year. In the early months 
of 1940 Ordnance had 231 officers and 
civilians engaged in procurement planning 
activities compared to only 264 for all the 
other supply services combined (including 
the Air Corps). 9 That Ordnance defense 
production got off to a fast start in 1940- 
41 was due in large measure to this prewar 
planning. 10 

Plans for New Facilities 

Because of the specialized nature of its 
products, the Ordnance Department was 
fully aware of the need for scores of new 
facilities in time of war. 11 For such prod- 
ucts as smokeless powder, 12 TNT, ammo- 
nia, and small arms ammunition, and also 
for loading artillery ammunition, there 
were no existing plants that could be readily 
converted. Furthermore, because powder 

Mobilization for War, History of the War Produc- 
tion Board and Predecessor Agencies, /040-/945 
(Washington, 1947), pp. 57-58, and p. 185. 

and ammunition plants offered none of 
the usual attractions for private capital, it 
was recognized that they would have to be 
built at government expense if they were 
to be built at all. Working on these assump- 
tions during the interwar years, Ordnance 
engineers, co-operating with the nation's 
small peacetime explosives industry and 
using the technical developments of Pica- 
tinny and Frankford Arsenals, drew up 
plans and specifications for typical plants 
to be built in time of need. In 1937 they 
established an office in Wilmington, Dela- 
ware, to carry on this work, and in 1938 
Congress appropriated funds for the pur- 
chase of some of the highly specialized ma- 
chinery required for the production of 

8 The importance of the Ordnance planning 
effort in the broad Army-wide picture is revealed 
in Smith, Army and Economic Mobilization, 
Chapters II-IV. The library of the Industrial Col- 
lege of the Armed Forces has several lectures given 
by Ordnance officers during 1940 and earlier years 
on the work of the Planning Branch. 

9 WDAB, 1941, H.R., 76th Cong., 3d sess., p. 98. 

10 See remarks by Lt. Gen. Brehon Somervell 
praising Ordnance as "preeminent" in this area, 
Rpt of Conf of Ord Dist Chiefs, Detroit, 22 Apr 
44, p. 2, OHF. See also the report by Luther 
Gulick and his associates on the Cincinnati Field 
Survey, Apr 42, p. 20, ASF Contl Div files. 

11 (1) WD Ann Rpt, Report of the Chief of 
Ordnance, 1938, p. 9. (Hereafter, regardless of 
variations of title, these reports are cited as Ann 
Rpt CofOrd); (2) Memo, Col Lucian D. Booth, 
Ammo Div, for Gen Harris, 3 Jan 39, sub: Gen 
Data . . . for Ammo in an Emergency, OHF ; ( 3 ) 
Lecture, Maj Gen Charles M. Wesson, The Ord- 
nance Department, 9 May 41, ICAF; (4) Memo, 
CofOrd for ASW, 6 May 40, sub: Additional Fa- 
cilities Required. . . , OO 381/35763 ASW; (5) 
Rpt of Comm. headed by Col Rutherford for 
ASW, 24 Jun 40, sub: Proposed WD Program 
for Increasing Productive Capacity for Munitions, 
Maj Gen James H. Burns's personal file; (6) Notes 
on conversation with Col Leo Dillon, assistant ex- 
ecutive officer to Gen Burns, no date, in Troyer 
Anderson's notes, folder 4, OCMH. 

1S "Smokeless powder" is used throughout this 
volume because of its wide currency, not because 
it was an accurately descriptive term. "Propellant" 
was generally preferred by specialists in this area. 



powder and small arms and for the opera- 
tion of loading plants. By the summer of 
1940, thanks largely to the efforts of Gen- 
eral Harris, Ordnance had a fairly clear 
idea as to the type of new facilities it would 
need to produce smokeless powder, explo- 
sives, ammonia, and TNT. 13 These plans 
and reserve machinery, General Wesson 
told the Truman Committee in April 1941, 
proved to be of "untold value" in promptly 
starting the new facilities program. 14 

In the summer of 1940 the Munitions 
Program of 30 June opened a new era in 
procurement planning. It called for imme- 
diate procurement of equipment for 1,200,- 
000 ground troops, procurement of impor- 
tant long-lead-time items for a ground force 
of 2,000,000, creation of productive capac- 
ity for eventually supplying a much larger 
force on combat status, and production of 
18,000 airplanes. Approval of this plan, 
formulated in large part by an Ordnance 
officer, Col. James H. Burns, was a big step 
forward along the road toward effective in- 
dustrial mobilization. 15 It made a sharp 
break with all previous plans to supply 
equipment for small Army increments, for 
it established broad planning goals far in 
advance of any formal action to increase 
the strength of the Army. It cleared the 
way for creation of munitions plants for a 
b : g military effort and left to the future 
the tedious task of refining and adjusting 
its parts. But Ordnance planners found 
that there were still many unknown factors 
in the equation — new weapons, tables of 
equipment, estimated rates of consumption, 
speed of mobilization, timetable for over- 
seas deployment, and, most important, how 
much money would be available. 

Although Ordnance maintained six man- 
ufacturing arsenals in time of peace, they 
were not intended for large-scale produc- 
tion in time of war. 18 It was estimated that 

all the arsenals combined would never be 
able to produce more than about 5 percent 
of the Army's requirements for war. In the 
initial stages of an emergency, while indus- 

13 Memo, CofOrd for Col Burns, OASW, 1 
Mar 40, sub: Ord War Construction Rpt, OO 
381/33041 ASW. The inclosure to this memo tab- 
ulated 29 proposed loading and powder plants, 
with tentative locations indicated. See also list of 
proposed new plants in Munitions Program of 30 
June 1940, ASF Contl Div dr G43; Dir, High Ex- 
plosives Manufacturing Plants, 20 Sep 39, by Lt 
Col Alfred B, Quinton, Jr., approved by Col Booth 
and Brig Gen Harris, OHF; and Dir, War Plans 
for Loading Ammunition, 21 Mar 40, by Brig Gen 
Harris, OHF. On the role of General Harris, see 
Ltr, Louis Johnson to Harry C. Thomson, 14 Oct 
52, OHF. The New York Times on 2 January 
1 94 1 ran a front-page article on the need for pow- 
der plants and on Ordnance plans for their con- 

14 (1) Statement of Gen Wesson . . . before the 
Spec S. Comm. Investigating the National Defense 
Program, 77th Cong., 1st sess,, Hearings on S. Res. 
71, Investigation of the National Defense Program, 
Apr 41. (These hearings, which extended from 1 
March 1941 through 11 June 1948, from the 77th 
through the 80th Congresses, will hereafter be 
cited as Truman or Mead Comm., Hearings ac- 
cording to date. The successive chairmen of this 
committee were Harry S. Truman, James M. 
Mead, and Owen Brewster). A copy of Gen Wes- 
son's statement is in OHF; (2) Interv with Maj 
Gen Charles T. Harris, Jr., and Brig Gen Burton 
O. Lewis, 13 Jan 53; (3) Min, Wesson Confs, 20 
Jun 40. On the development of plans and pur- 
chase of machinery, see also (4) Small Arms Am- 
munition, A H'story of an Industry, 1918-1944, 
vol. I, ch. 4, prepared by Ammo Br, SA Div, OCO 
(hereafter cited as SAA) ; and (5) Ord Mono- 
graph No. 4, Ammunition, 1 July 1940-31 August 
J 945» by Maj Berkeley R. Lewis a,nd Lt C. B. Rosa-, 
31 Dec 45, p. 6, OHF. 

15 (1) Munitions Program of 30 June 1940 
(corrected as of 24 July), in ASF Contl Div files, 
dr G43. For the important role played by Col. 
(later Maj. Gen.) James H. Burns in developing 
this program, see (2) Watson, Chief of Staff, pp. 
172-182, and (3) Smith, Army and Economic 
Mobilization, Chapter VI. (4) See also Ltr, 
Johnson to Thomson, 14 Oct 52, OHF. 

16 For names, locations, and wartime activities 
of the arsenals, see Green, Thomson, and Roots, 
\Planning Munitions for War, pp. 6— 7 j A detailed 

history of each arsenal may be found in OHF, 



try built new plants, the arsenals were to 
produce certain types of urgently needed 
munitions; but, with a few exceptions, 
their major wartime role was to serve as 
sources of production techniques, as de- 
velopment centers, and as training grounds 
for Ordnance production personnel, in- 
spectors, and key men from industrial 
plants. The main burden of war production 
would fall on private industry and on 
new government-owned, contractor-operat- 
ed (GOCO) plants built for the purpose. 17 

Plans for Decentralized Procurement 

In terms of organization, the foremost 
principle of Ordnance procurement plan- 
ning in the summer of 1940 was decentral- 
ization through the six manufacturing ar- 
senals and the thirteen district offices. 18 
Ever since World War I, Ordnance pro- 
curement plans had provided that, with 
certain exceptions, contracts for war mate- 
riel would be placed by the arsenals or the 
district offices, each of which was familiar 
with industries capable of producing the 
required munitions. Over-all direction of 
the program in wartime was to be exer- 
cised from Washington by the Chief of the 
Industrial Service, General Harris, but the 
day-by-day work of negotiating and admin- 
istering contracts was to be carried on in 
the districts. 19 

The districts had a combination of civil- 
ian and military leadership. Each district 
had as its chief (until 1942) a prominent 
local businessman, usually a Reserve offi- 
cer, who devoted part of his time to district 
affairs. To each district a regular Ordnance 
officer was assigned on a full-time basis as 
assistant chief or executive officer. Most of 
the districts also had advisory boards made 
up of prominent business leaders who were 
sympathetic, at least in theory, with 

the Ordnance Department's preparedness 
plans. There was an element of "window 
dressing" about these boards but there 
was some real substance, too. The New 
York district, for example, numbered 
among its board members in the 1939-41 
period such prominent figures as Patrick E. 
Crowley, president of the New York Cen- 
tral Lines; James A. Farrell of the United 
States Steel Corporation; Maj. Gen. James 
G. Harbord ( Ret. ) , chairman of the board 
of directors of the Radio Corporation of 
America; Robert P. Lamont, former Secre- 
tary of Commerce; and Owen D. Young, 
chairman of the board of the General Elec- 
tric Company. The Cleveland district prob- 
ably reflected the experience of other dis- 
tricts when it reported that the names of 
highly respected industrialists on its advis- 
ory board helped to unlock industrial 

17 (1) Lectures, Maj Gen Charles M. Wesson, 
Ordnance Department Procurement, and The 
Ordnance Department, 15 Jan 40 and 9 May 41 
respectively, ICAF. (2) See also Memo, CofOrd 
for Planning Br, OASW, 8 Sep 39, sub: Measures 
. . . in Event of War. . . , OO 3817*7496 Misc. 

18 The origins and early history of the arsenals 
and district offices are treated in Green, Thomson, 
and Roots, ^Planning Munitions for War\ Chapter 
I. In 1940 the district offices were in the follow- 
ing cities: Birmingham, Boston, Chicago, Cincin- 
nati, Cleveland, Detroit, Hartford (redesignated 
Springfield in May 1 942 ) , New York, Philadelphia, 
Pittsburgh, Rochester, St. Louis, and San Fran- 

19 For detailed description of the organization 
of the Industrial Service, and its relation to the 
districts, see Green, T homson, and R oots . Pla nning 
Munitions for War, | Chapters U\ and [Tv] The 
mechanics of Ordnance procurement, and many 
references to specific procurement planning direc- 
tives, are described in History of the Industrial 
Service, District Administrative Branch, vol. 10 1, 
OHF. See also Dir for Procurement ... for FY 
1940. . . , 1 May 39, OHF; Cir 18, The Mission 
of the New York Ord Dist, 29 Oct 35, in His- 
tory of . New York Ordnance District, I, pt. 1, 
app, C. 



In the early stages of an emergency, 
while the districts built up their staffs and 
established operating procedures, the ar- 
senals were to let contracts for the more 
complicated types of materiel and were to 
aid the districts by providing blueprints, 
specifications, and technical guidance to 
manufacturers. 20 Up to July 1940, the dis- 
tricts had no authority to award contracts. 
During the preceding eighteen months they 
had handled some of the preliminary work 
for educational orders and production 
studies. 21 They had been given increasing 
responsibility for inspecting finished prod- 
ucts, but they had had no authority to 
place orders with industry. The grant of 
that authority to the districts was never- 
theless an integral part of the Ordnance 
plan, and to lend realism to such planning 
each district was requested in December 
1939 to submit its recommendations cov- 
ering the first twenty contracts it expected 
to place in time of war. The reports sent in 
by the districts showed names of plants, 
items to be produced, types of contracts to 
be used, and the reasons for selecting each 
plant. 22 The Chicago district, to cite one 
example, planned to place orders with 
Elgin National Watch Company for time 
fuzes, with Allis-Chalmers Manufacturing 
Company for machining 75-mm. shells, 
with Biicyrus-Erie Company for 3-inch AA 
gun mounts, with Stewart- Warner Corpo- 
ration for metallic belt links, and so on 
through the list. 23 

The Industrial Service in mid-July 1940 
described in some detail the specific pro- 
curement procedures to be followed by the 
arsenals and districts. To use the district 
procurement system and at the same time 
retain competitive bidding to the maxi- 
mum extent, Ordnance proposed to divide 
the requirement for each item among dis- 
tricts that had facilities allocated for pro- 

duction of that item, 24 When district 
offices received these assignments they 
would request facilities allocated to them 
to submit bids. The bids from all districts 
would then be reported to the Ordnance 
office in Washington. That office would 
compare the bids with each other and with 
known costs of manufacture at arsenals 
and would make awards to facilities that 
offered the best assurance of producing on 
schedule and at a fair price. Rigid accept- 
ance inspection by the district offices, cou- 
pled with periodic interchangeability tests, 
would assure uniformity of product. In 
analyzing the plan the Chief of Ordnance 
wrote : 

It will be observed that this plan, in effect, 
provides for nation-wide competition among 
allocated facilities, with contract negotiations 
carried on in the geographic territories of the 
several Ordnance Districts. Assurance of the 
timely production of munitions through use 
of the district system cannot be obtained in 
any other manner, and it is considered that 

-° (1) Ann Rpt CofOrd FY 1938, p. 8; (2) 
Hist, Ind Serv, Dist' Admin Br, sec. B, vol. 101 ; 
(3) Harry B. Yoshpe, Plans for Industrial Mo- 
bilization, 1920-39, ICAF Research Project RP 
No. 28, Nov 45, p. 78. For the experience of the 
Quartermaster Corps wherein current procurement 
and procurement planning were not closely tied 
together, see Thomas M. Pitkin and Herbert R. 
Rifkind, Procurement Planning in the Quarter- 
master Corps 1920-40, QMC Historical Studies 
No. 1, Mar 43, pp. 121-28. 

21 Discussed below, |pp. 1 Q-^TT] For a detailed 
record of one district's activities, see the bound 
volumes of monthly reports of the Cincinnati Ord- 
nance District for 1940 and 1941, OHF. 

22 Ltr, CofOrd for all districts, 14 Dec 39, sub: 
Negotiation of Wartime Contracts, OO 381/- 
30303 San Francisco. Replies from the districts 
are also in this file. 

29 Ltr, Chicago Ord Dist to CofOrd, 21 Dec 
39, sub: Negotiation of War-time Contracts, OO 
381/3062, copy in OHF. 

24 Allocated facilities were those assigned in War 
Department plans for u se of a s pecific procure- 
ment agency. See below, p. 19. 


the plan will bring forth the best facilities 
producing at the lowest cost, consistent with 
the desired distribution of the load. 20 

It was estimated that in meeting require- 
ments of the Munitions Program of 30 
June the districts would place approximate- 
ly four hundred prime contracts, utilizing 
some eight thousand facilities. For that 
part of the procurement load assigned to 
the arsenals, competitive bidding among 
allocated facilities or any other facilities 
with suitable production experience, and 
the signing of fixed-price contracts, were 
to be the rule. Arsenal commanders had 
authority to close contracts involving less 
than $50,000 without referring them to 
Washington for approval, but larger con- 
tracts had to have the approval of the 
Chief of Ordnance, the Assistant Secretary 
of War, and Commissioner William S. 
Knudsen of the Advisory Commission to 
the Council of National Defense (usually 
referred to as NDAC). 26 

Each district office was to administer its 
own contracts and also all contracts with 
industries within its borders placed by the 
arsenals. Administration of contracts in- 
cluded, among other things, helping con- 
tractors solve production problems, making 
periodic reports to the Chief of Ordnance 
on the status of production, inspecting fin- 
ished products, and paying for the goods 
delivered. By means of production reports 
from the districts and the arsenals the 
Chief of Ordnance planned to exercise close 
control over the flow of components to final 
assembly points and loading plants, and to 
bring pressure to bear upon contractors 
who failed to meet their production 

Contract Forms and Legal Restrictions 

By the summer of 1940 the Assistant 
Secretary of War had approved six stand- 


ard contract forms for use in a national 
emergency. 27 These had been drafted to 
prevent recurrence of the confusion of 
World War I when purchasing agencies 
of the War Department evolved and used 
over four hundred different and trouble- 
some contract forms. Ordnance expected 
that the most important of the approved 
contracts would be Standard Form No. 32, 
a fixed-price supply contract to be used 
under the system of competitive bidding. 
It was thought that this type of contract 
would account for 95 percent of all awards 
by the district offices. But, because of the 
difficulty of estimating costs of war equip- 
ment that manufacturers had never before 
produced, other types of contracts, such 
as the cost-plus-fixed-fee (CPFF), which 
allowed greater flexibility in pricing, were 
also considered. 

In January 1940 the Ordnance Depart- 
ment regarded the legal restrictions on 
peacetime procurement as a major factor 
that would retard the award of Ordnance 
contracts in time of emergency. It cited 
the law requiring public advance advertis- 
ing and award to the lowest responsible 
bidder, and other legislation affecting 
hours, wages, and profits. In January 1 940, 
General Wesson stated that because of this 
legislation, with which many manufactur- 

85 Memo, CofOrd, for ASW, 19 Jul 40, OO 
381/1335 ASW. The Ordnance plan was offi- 
cially approved by the Secretary of War in a 
memo for NDAC, 23 Jul 40, OO 334.9/26. The 
plans of all the supply services are summarized in 
Ann Rpt USW FY 41, and in Ann Rpt P and C 
Br, OUSW, FY 41. 

26 Memo, ASW for CofOrd, 10 Jun 40, sub: 
Approval of Important Purchases. . . , OHF. 

27 For copies of these forms see Ind College 
Spec Text No. 98, War Department Procurement 
Planning, ch. 8, prepared in 1940 by Extension 
Course Div ICAF. See also Yoshpe, op. cit., pp. 
50-53, and Lt. Col. John P. Dinsmore, "War 
Contracts," Army Ordnance, XX, No. 119 (March 
-April 1940), 317-ai. 



ers were not familiar, it took about ninety 
days to advertise for bids, examine the 
bids, and make an award. He went on to 
say that this procurement cycle could be 
cut from ninety to thirty days for essential 
items in an emergency only if the industrial 
mobilization plan were put in effect, legal 
restrictions removed, and Ordnance per- 
mitted to negotiate directly with selected 
facilities. 28 

Surveys of Industry 

In the summer of 1940 each district of- 
fice had on file hundreds of reports of in- 
dustrial surveys made during the preced- 
ing years and kept as nearly up-to-date as 
possible with the handful of officers and 
civilian engineers available for the job. 
These surveys, made under the broad su- 
pervision of Louis Johnson, Assistant Secre- 
tary of War, covered major industrial 
plants within each district that might be 
converted to munitions production in time 
of war. For each plant the survey recorded 
the firm's normal product, its productive 
capacity, floor space, and major items of 
equipment. It also gave information on the 
firm's financial standing and resources, 
transportation facilities, availability of 
skilled workers, and, most important, the 
type and quantity of Ordnance materiel 
the company might produce in an emer- 
gency. Above all, Ordnance was interested 
in firms with good management and strong 
engineering departments. "It was not just 
the machines and floor space that count- 
ed," observed Brig. Gen. Burton O. Lewis, 
a leader in Ordnance procurement plan- 
ning. "Of even greater irhportance were 
the men — the skilled workers, the produc- 
tion engineers, the executives who under- 
stood the secret of high-quality mass pro- 
duction." 29 In most cases, after the survey 

Assistant Secretary of War Louis 

was complete, Ordnance and the company 
signed an informal agreement known as an 
"accepted schedule of production" showing 
specifically what the company was pre- 
pared to produce. 90 Accepted schedules of 
production were "all important," General 
Wesson told Industrial College students 
early in 1940. "They are part of our war 
reserve. They are as vital as the material 
in our storehouses." 31 

28 Lecture, Wesson, Ordnance Department 
Procurement, p. 10. See also Memo, Brig Gen 
Harris, Actg CofOrd, for ASW, 15 May 40, sub: 
Measures to Expedite Proc, OO 400.13/5908. 

29 Interv with Brig Gen Burton O. Lewis, 39 
Apr 5a. The same view was expressed by many 
other Ordnance officers in interviews with the 

30 For discussion of this topic, see testimony of 
Brig Gen Harris, WDAB, S., 76th Cong., 3d sess., 
p. S3gff. See also Smith, Army and Economic 
Mobilization, ch. III. 

31 Lecture, Wesson, Ordnance Department Pro- 



Before 1940 the process of making in- 
dustrial surveys was slow, hampered by- 
lack of interest on the part of some manu- 
facturers and by lack of personnel in the 
district offices. It was also hampered by the 
fact that not all Ordnance district officers 
had sufficient manufacturing background 
and engineering knowledge to do a good 
surveying job. But during the first six 
months of 1940 the tempo of survey work 
increased markedly, stimulated by a pro- 
curement planning conference called by 
Louis Johnson in October 1939. The Pitts- 
burgh District made more than two hun- 
dred surveys during the first half of 1940 
as compared with only thirty-nine during 
the preceding six months, and the cumula- 
tive total for the District in July 1940 rose 
to five hundred. 32 

By 1940 the purpose of industrial sur- 
veys had generally ceased to be discovery 
of firms that could turn out* complete 
items of Ordnance materiel ready for 
storage or issue. The search was for several 
firms, each of which might manufacture 
one or more components or perform one or 
more steps in the whole process of manu- 
facture. Further, surveying officials were 
looking for plants that could do the job by 
using equipment already on hand and with 
workers already trained in similar proc- 

The search for plants that could under- 
take Ordnance production with existing 
equipment was dictated largely by the an- 
ticipated shortage of machine tools. Ord- 
nance planners were aware that the na- 
tion's small machine-tool industry would 
be swamped in time of war; they realized 
that every possible step should be taken to 
utilize existing machines rather than count 
on extensive retooling. The dearth of ma- 
chine tools in the South was spectacularly 
revealed in the fall of 1939 when the Bir- 

mingham District office reported that, of 
eighteen contractors approached, not one 
had the tools needed to begin production 
on any type of materiel contemplated for 
production in that District. 33 The educa- 
tional orders program revealed that lack 
of machine tools was also a problem for 
industries in the North. In January 1940, 
for example, the Philadelphia District re- 
ported that bids on educational orders 
"indicate a larger deficiency of machine 
tools than was anticipated six months 
ago." 34 

Planning for an adequate supply of gages 
— those essential measuring and checking 
devices needed to assure precision manu- 
facture — was an altogether different story. 
Profiting from the experience of World 
War I, the Ordnance Department during 
the 1920's and 1930's took a number of 
important steps to assure an adequate sup- 
ply of gages for a future emergency. More 
than half a million World War I gages were 
collected, checked for accuracy, and put in 
storage. During the 1930's nine district 
gage laboratories were established at uni- 
versities to provide gage-checking services 
to manufacturers and to train personnel 
for gage-surveillance duties, and gage lab- 
oratories were established at all the arsen- 
als. Beginning in 1938 Ordnance made a 
concerted effort to design gages for all 
items for which it was reasonably sure that 
production would be required. Gages on 
hand at the arsenals were brought up to 
date, and new gages were procured for 

32 History, Pittsburgh Ordnance District, I, pt. 
3, p. 382. For similar data, see History, Detroit 
Ordnance District, I, p. D-3. 

83 History, Birmingham Ordnance District, I, 
pt. i, pp. 385-90. 

34 Monthly Progress Rpt, Phila Ord Dist, Jan 
40. See also. History, New York Ordnance District, 
I» Pt- a, PP- 75-76. 



standard items. In July 1940 Ordnance 
allotted approximately $2,500,000 for gage 
procurement in advance of actual produc- 
tion of weapons or ammunition. At the 
same time, steps were taken, in co- 
operation with other government agencies 
and private industry, leading to allotment 
by the War Department of $4,000,000 to 
expand productive capacity of the gage in- 
dustry. 35 So effective were these prepara- 
tory measures that the gage problem, 
which proved so serious in World War I, 
was scarcely a problem at all in World 
War II. 

Closely related to industrial surveys was 
the system by which a certain percentage 
of a plant's capacity was allocated by the 
Army and Navy Munitions Board for the 
exclusive wartime use of one or possibly 
several supply services. 36 Originally adopted 
to guard against recurrence of the con- 
fusion and interagency competition that 
had marked the procurement process in 
19 1 7, the allocation system was designed 
also to forewarn industry of the tasks it 
would be called upon to perform in time 
of war, to promote mutual understanding 
between industry and procurement officers, 
and to serve as a basis on which to plan 
war production. The supply services fur- 
nished allocated facilities with drawings, 
specifications, descriptions of manufacture, 
and in some cases samples of the critical 
items they were scheduled to produce, and 
encouraged them to study means of con- 
verting their plants to munitions produc- 
tion. 37 

Educational Orders and 
Production Studies 

Perhaps the most radical departure from 
conventional practice, and the most highly 
publicized feature of Ordnance prewar 

procurement plans, were the educational 
orders. Approved by Congress in 1938, 
after years of urging by procurement offi- 
cers and the Army Ordnance Association, 
the Educational Orders Act permitted 
placement of orders with allocated facilities 
for small quantities of hard-to-manufacture 
items. The purpose was to give selected 
manufacturers experience in producing 
munitions and to procure essential tools 
and manufacturing aids. Other supply 
services participated in the program to 
some extent, but the bulk of the education- 
al orders were for Ordnance materiel. 38 

35 (1) History, Gage Section and Gage Facili- 
ties Section, OCO, I, pt. i; (a) Memo, ASW for 
Donald Nelson, si Sep 40, sub: Project for Ex- 
pansion of Productive Capacity for Gages, copy 
in OHF. 

36 The next chapter discusses the allocation sys- 
tem more fully. 

37 For a detailed description of the allocation 
system, see Yoshpe, op. cit., pp. 22-26. See also 
Maj Gen Charles M. Wesson, "Arms for the 
Army," Army Ordnance, XIX, No. 112 (Janu- 
ary-February 1939), 209; Maj Scott B. Ritchie, 
"The Allocations System," Army Ordnance, 
XVIII, No. 104 (September-October 1937), 77- 
83. The district histories, particularly that of the 
Pittsburgh District, describe the allocations pro- 
cedure in detail. The names of all allocated plants, 
and the service or services to which they were 
allocated, appear in Alphabetical Directory of 
Industrial Allocations, May 1940, issued by ANMB. 
The most recent review of the allocation system 
appears in Smith, Army and Economic Mobiliza- 
tion, Chapter III. 

38 See |Chapter III | of Green, Thomson, and 
Roots, Planning Munitions for War, for a sum- 
mary of the program before, 1940. The Annual 
Report of the Secretary of War to the President, 
1939 (Washington, 1939) (hereafter cited as Ann 
Rpt SW, 1939), pp. 16-17, describes the over-all 
program as does Smith, Army and Economic 
Mobilization, ch. III. The histories of the Ord- 
nance districts report on the details of its admin-s- 
tration. Many pertinent documents are in OHF. 
See also testimony of Brig. Gen. Harris and Col 
Rutherford, WDAB, S., 76th Cong., 3d sess., p. 
tagff ; Col. Harry K. Rutherford, "Educational 
Orders," Army Ordnance, XX, No. 117 (Novem- 
ber-December 1939), 162-66; and Benedict 



After a rather cautious start in fiscal 
year 1939, when Ordnance awards went 
to only four companies, the program leaped 
ahead in fiscal 1940 with more than eighty 
educational awards. As orders for a wide 
range of items went to manufacturers in 
all parts of the country, the district offices 
and arsenals plunged into the task of shar- 
ing with industry their knowledge of pro- 
duction methods peculiar to munitions 
making. The invitations to bid for educa- 
tional orders were issued by the arsenals 
and the contracts were let from the Office 
of the Chief of Ordnance, after approval 
by the Secretary of War and the President, 
as required by law. Selection of firms to 
receive invitations to bid, negotiation of 
contract details, and inspection and accept- 
ance of finished materiel were all man- 
aged by the district offices. The entire 
process was thus an educational experience 
for the Ordnance Department as well as 
for the manufacturers. But, just as the pro- 
gram was getting well under way in the 
summer of 1940, it was suddenly halted. 
Because of the swift German victories in 
western Europe and the huge appropria- 
tions for military supplies voted by Con- 
gress, educational orders gave way to pro- 
duction orders. Ordnance placed its last 
educational order in July 1940 while the 
British Army was recovering from its evac- 
uation of Dunkerque. 39 

The prevailing opinion in the Ordnance 
Department and among contractors hold- 
ing educational orders was that the pro- 
gram, in spite of being too limited in scope 
and too brief in duration, proved its value 
as a means of industrial preparedness. 40 

Crowell, et al., "The Crowell Board Report on 
Educational Orders for Peacetime Munitions Pro- 
duction," Army Ordnance, XX, No. 117 (Novem- 
ber-December 1939), 167-70. 

The Winchester Repeating Arms Company 
estimated that its educational order for 
the Mi rifle saved a full year's time in 
getting into quantity production. 41 Not 
all companies with educational orders com- 
pleted them successfully, nor were all hold- 
ers of educational contracts later given 
production orders for exactly the same 
product. But in April 1941 Ordnance re- 
ported that about half had received pro- 
duction orders for the same or similar 
items. 42 All told, the educational orders 
had spread the "know how" of specialized 
ordnance manufacture to some eighty-two 
companies, made available to them at least 
a minimum of special tools and other 
manufacturing aids, and, by familiarizing 
them with Ordnance inspection methods, 
probably cut down rejections on later 
production orders. 43 

While Ordnance was launching its edu- 
cational orders experiment it also entered 

30 Min of conf in Gen Wesson's office, I Apr 
41, relative to S. Res. 71, OHF. See also Memo, 
Lt Col Hugh C. Minton for Mr. Julius H. Ara- 
berg, 4 Apr 41, sub: Educational Orders, OHF. 

40 (1) Replies to questions submitted to Maj 
Gen C. T. Harris. . . , 28 Feb 45, OHF, pp. 3-4; 
(a) WDAB, 1942, H.R., 77th Cong., 1st sess., 
p. 27; (3) Yoshpe, op. cit., p. 37; (4) Histories of 
Ord Districts; (5) Testimony of Rutherford, 27 
Feb 40, WDAB, 1941 H.R., 76th Cong., 3d sess., 
p. 108, passim; (6) WDAB, 1941, S., 76th Cong., 
3d sess., p. 200. See also the statement by Secre- 
tary of War Robert P. Patterson that educational 
orders were of "immeasurable value," Army Ord- 
nance, XXII, No. 131 (March-April 1942), 

41 History, Rochester Ordnance District, I, p. 
50. Similar testimony may be found in the his- 
tories of other districts and in the Report of the 
Under Secretary of War, 30 June 1 94 1 . 

42 Memo, Minton for Amberg, 4 Apr 41, sub: 
Educational Orders. 

43 ( 1 ) Statement of Maj Gen Charles M. Wes- 
son, Truman Comm. Hearings, Apr 41, copy in 
OHF. (2) Statement of Wesson, WDAB, H.R., 
77th Cong., 1st sess., p. 527, and statement by 
Maj Gen Harry K. Rutherford, p. 229. 



into nearly one hundred contracts for pro- 
duction studies to determine the techniques 
and equipment needed for quantity pro- 
duction of items of ordnance. 44 Congress 
authorized the War Department to pur- 
chase such studies in 1939. In the spring 
of 1940 General Wesson told a Congres- 
sional committee that funds for 420 addi- 
tional studies should be appropriated as he 
considered such studies to be "of para- 
mount importance to national defense." 45 
Averaging about $5,000 each, these studies 
had the advantage of being much cheaper 
than either educational orders or produc- 
tion orders, but they were of far less value. 
Their usefulness depended in large measure 
on the strength of the contracting com- 
pany's engineering staff and on the serious- 
ness with which it tackled the study. In 
the final analysis, only production orders 
under wartime conditions could provide 
the proof of the pudding. That proof was 
not slow in coming, for in some cases con- 
tracts for production studies were replaced, 
even before they were signed, by produc- 
tion orders. 46 

During the year ending 30 June 1940 
the Ordnance Department awarded 1,450 
contracts to industry for approximately 
$83,000,000 worth of weapons, ammuni- 
tion, and new machinery, and it allocated 
a nearly equal sum to the arsenals for pro- 
duction and modernization. 47 Plans called 
for completion of this 1940 program within 
two years, with 95 percent of it completed 
by December 1941. "In general," observed 
General Wesson, "it takes approximately 
one year to place orders and to get produc- 
tion started, and a second year to finish 
any reasonable program." 48 Beyond the 
1940 program, provision had been made 
for a tremendous increase in production 
when funds for fiscal year 1941 became 


Such, in broad outline, was the nature 
of Ordnance procurement planning in the 
summer of 1940. It was fundamentally 
sound, in terms of the political and eco- 
nomic atmosphere of the time. Its most 
serious weakness lay in the limitations on 
its application and development. The value 
of plant surveys made in the late 1930's was 
demonstrated time and again during the 
defense period and was recognized by the 
Office of Production Management (OPM) 
in the spring of 1941 when it declared that 
they "have been found adequate for the 
purpose of OPM's defense contract service 
and will not be duplicated." 49 But Ord- 
nance and the other supply services never 
had enough money or enough manpower 
to carry on a fully adequate program of 
industrial surveys. Similarly, the education- 
al orders program, although soundly con- 

44 Memo, Lt Col Quinton for Maj Hugh B. 
Hester, OASW, 5 Aug 40, sub: Production Stud- 
ies, OO 381/2210 ASW. See also testimony of 
Col Harry K. Rutherford in WDAB, H.R., 76th 
Cong., 3d sess., 27 Feb 40, pp. iooff, and "Pro- 
duction Studies," and editorial in Army Ord- 
nance, XX, No. 120 (June-July 1940), 396. The 
History of the Pittsburgh Ordnance District, I, 
Part 3, Chapter 4, describes that District's ex- 
perience with production studies in detail. 

45 WDAB, 1 94 1, H.R., 76th Cong, 3d sess., 12 
Mar 40, pp. 558 and 601. 

40 History, Pittsburgh Ordnance District, I, pt. 
3, p. 416. This reference also gives evidence of the 
usefulness of the production studies which were 

47 Analysis of FY 1940 Ord Dept Contracts, 
Asst Chief of Ind Serv (Prod), OHF. 

48 Speech by Maj Gen Charles M. Wesson in 
Pittsburgh, 3 May 40, OHF. For a review of the 
contracts in force in the spring of 1940, see testi- 
mony of Wesson, WDAB, H.R., 76th Cong, 3d 
sess, pp. 555-56- 

40 Proc Ping Bull, 1 Apr 41, cited in Hist, 
Pittsburgh Ord Dist, I, pt. 3, p. 385. See also 
statement by Secretary Patterson in praise of these 
surveys before Select Comm., Investigating Ra- 
tional Defense Migration, 23 Dec 41. 



ceived and effectively administered, was 
started so late and was allotted so little 
money that its full value was never rea- 
lized. The system of plant allocations 
formed the basis for a fruitful exchange of 
information between Ordnance and indus- 
try during the interwar years, and, when 
the emergency came, the allocation plans 
provided most useful guidance for placing 
Ordnance contracts. But the allocation 
plans were only a first step toward indus- 
trial preparedness. Their effectiveness de- 
pended upon their being backed up by the 
district system, the arsenals, and a compe- 
tent managerial staff in Washington. 

Maintenance of the six manufacturing 
arsenals as the "Regular Army of produc- 
tion" throughout the interwar years was 
one of the most important Ordnance con- 
tributions to the cause of industrial pre- 
paredness. But it must also be remembered 
that, because of lack of funds, the equip- 
ment of the arsenals was not kept up-to- 
date. Although some progress toward mod- 
ernizing arsenal equipment was made in 
the late 1930's, particularly at Frankford, 
by 1939 some 80 percent of the machine 
tools in the arsenals were eighteen or more 
years old, and some of them antedated the 
Civil War. 50 With such equipment the 
arsenals were not able to keep abreast of 
the latest developments in manufacturing 
techniques, nor were they fully prepared in 
1940 to serve as model factories to be 
copied by private industries about to con- 
vert to munitions making. 

Without the district offices, with their 
continual and friendly liaison with indus- 
trial leaders, the paper plans for war pro- 
curement would have been far less valua- 
ble than they actually proved to be. But 
the fact that no annual meeting of the dis- 
trict chiefs was held between 193 1 and 
1935 because of lack of funds is eloquent 

testimony to the limitations on district ac- 
tivity during those years. So is the fact that 
before 1939 the employees on duty in the 
average district office could be counted on 
the fingers of one hand. It is no doubt true, 
as General Harris asserted, that there was 
never a time in the 1938-40 period when 
he could not gain a sympathetic hearing 
from the president of any leading corpora- 
tion in the United States to discuss pro- 
curement plans. In some degree the same 
was true of the district chiefs who were 
themselves prominent industrialists and 
were supported by advisory committees 
composed of industrial leaders. But most 
businessmen were reluctant to undertake 
detailed planning for an unforeseeable fu- 
ture. They were willing to go just so far, 
and no farther. As a result, within the lim- 
ited budgets of the peacetime years the 
districts did a great deal of valuable work, 
but in 1940 much still remained to be done 
before a major program of munitions pro- 
duction could be launched. 

In one respect a great advance was 
made in Ordnance procurement planning 
between the fall of 1939 and the fall of 
1940. More and more people, both in and 
out of the Army, began to take such plan- 
ning seriously for the first time. Before 

50 Three significant magazine articles on this 
subject appeared in 1939. "The Arsenals in Ac- 
tion" in American Machinist, vol. 83, (February 
8, 1939)) pp. 48aff., reported the findings of a 
study of arsenal machines made by the magazine 
staff. Maj. Gen. Charles M. Wesson, in "Adequate 
National Defense Requires Modernized Arsenals," 
Machinery, vol. 4.5 (July 1939), pp. 735 ff -, de- 
clared that a great proportion of arsenal machin- 
ery was obsolete. The same facts were presented 
by General Wesson in Army Ordnance, XIX, No. 
114 (May-June 1939), 331, and in WDAB, 1941, 
H.R., 77th Cong., 1st sess., pp. 596-97. The offi- 
cial histories of the arsenals provide some data on 
new machinery purchased in 1939-40, as does 
Memo, CofOrd for Col Wade H. Haislip, 28 Jan 
39, OO 1 1 1.6954, copy in OHF. 



1939, when the prospects of American in- 
volvement in war seemed remote, only a 
few people took procurement planning 
seriously. Among these, it should be noted, 
were the members of the Army Ordnance 
Association, who worked throughout the 
interwar years to promote the cause of in- 
dustrial preparedness for national defense. 
Established in 19 19, the AOA immediately 
gained recognition in both industry and 
government when it elected as its first pres- 
ident Benedict Crowell, director of muni- 
tions in World War I. At the annual din- 
ners held by AOA posts in major cities the 
most important leaders of American indus- 
try were brought together to consider 
industry's role in national defense. The 
bimonthly magazine, Army Ordnance, 
brought to all members of the association 
articles on new developments in ordnance 
engineering along with news and comment 
on industrial preparedness. 

In the late 1930's Louis Johnson made 
countless speeches in all parts of the coun- 
try urging the need for industrial prepared- 
ness, but the response was generally apa- 
thetic, and frequently hostile. 81 Then, in 
the spring of 1940, the swift German vic- 

tories aroused public interest in rearma- 
ment of the United States and in plans 
for national defense. Instead of being de- 
nounced for making war plans, military 
men were now criticized for not having 
made better plans. With the launching of 
the munitions program in the late summer 
of 1940 a new attitude prevailed in the 
Army and among businessmen. The change 
did not come overnight, nor was it complete 
before Pearl Harbor, but it had a steady 
growth. It gave to all considerations of 
procurement plans a sense of reality and 
urgency they had never had before. It not 
only freed the procurement planners of the 
psychological handicap under which they 
had labored for two decades but it also 
brought forth the money needed to trans- 
form blueprints into weapons. 52 

51 Ann Rpt of ASW, 30 Jun 38, in Ann Rpt 
SW, 1938, pp. 19-20. See editorial in Saturday 
Evening Post, vol. an, No. 22 (November 26, 
■938), attacking the Industrial Mobilization Plan 
as "articles of war-time dictatorship." The broad 
background of these events is described in Smith, 
Army and Economic Mobilization, Chapter V. 

52 For comment on this matter as viewed from 
the highest level in the War Department, see Ann 
Rpt SW, 1941, pp. 2-3. 


Launching the Defense Program, 


Appropriations for preparedness in the 
early months of 1940 indicated a growing 
awareness of the dangers threatening the 
nation, but they fell far short of financing 
a long-range military program for the 
United States. Because of the cumbersome 
machinery used in making military appro- 
priations, and the uncertainty among advo- 
cates of preparedness as to how far and 
how fast the nation should go in the direc- 
tions of rearmament, the money to finance 
the munitions program did not come all at 
once but in varying amounts at irregular 
intervals. After the startling German suc- 
cesses in May and June, Congress acted 
quickly to make more funds available. 
Following the $436,000,000 approved for 
Ordnance in June 1940, there came a 
supplemental grant of $1,442,000,000 in 
September. Six months later $913,000,000 
was appropriated for Ordnance expen- 
ditures under lend-lease, followed by 
$1,339,000,000 for general purposes in 
June, and nearly $3,000,000,000 in Au- 
gust 1 94 1. 1 These funds strengthened the 
rearmament effort, but each appropriation 
also called for a revision of plans and ob- 
jectives, thus making it difficult for the 
General Staff to provide Ordnance with a 
firm long-range statement of procurement 
goals. 2 

Procurement Objectives 

As a first step toward providing detailed 
procurement objectives for the supply serv- 
ices, the General Staff issued an Expendi- 
ture Program in August 1 940. Designed as 
a master shopping list for Army procure- 
ment, this document showed require- 
ments for the Protective Mobilization Plan 
(PMP) force of 1,200,000 men and for the 
augmented force of 2,000,000 men, the 

1 Ordnance appropriations during the defense 
period are discussed in Green, Thomson, and 
Roots, Planning Munitions for War, I Chapter III] 
See also Incl to Memo of Harris for USW, 9 Sep 
41. sub: Comments on Study. . ., OHF. For a 
brief summary of other measures adopted during 
1940 and early 1941, see testimony of the Secretary 
of War and the Under Secretary before the Tru- 
man Committee, 15 April 1941, pt. 1. 

2 The history of industrial mobilization during 
the defense period, written from the vantage point 
of higher civilian or military levels, may be found 
in several published works, notably Bureau of the 
Budget, Committee on Records of War Adminis- 
tration, The United States at War, (Washington, 
1946) ; Watson, Chief of Staff ; and Smith, Army 
and Economic Mobilization. Among the many 
unpublished manuscripts dealing with this period, 
two are particularly worthy of mention: Troyer 
S. Anderson, Office of the Under Secretary of 
War, 19 14-41, and History of the ASF Purchases 
Division, both in OCMH files. The annual reports 
of the Under Secretary of War for 1940 and 1941 
are valuable, as is the annual report of the 
Purchase and Control Branch, OUSW, 1941. 


Table 1 — Selected Items From Time Objective, August 1940 


On Hand 

I..l,r 10J.fl 

July iy*u 

Initial Equipment 
lor r Hrlr 

I nitul Equipment 
t.-. T nnn iw* 

lor L s vruyj^ uw me n 

Light tanks 


1400 (30 Jun 41) 

2548 (31 Dec 41) 

Medium tanks. _ 


675 (31 Dec 41) 

1763 (Jul 42) 

Heavy tanks . 

324 (Apr 42) 

37-mm, antitank guns - 


2116 (30 Sep 41) 

3748 (31 Dec 41) 

75-mm. howitzers (field) 


384 (31 Dec 41) 

696 (30 Jun 42) 

3-inch or 90-mm. AA guns 


849 (31 Dec 41) 

1629 (30 Jun 42) 

AA Directors. 


279 (31 Dec 41) 

474 (30 Jun 42) 

lOS-mm. howitzers (hi-speed) „ . 


1404 (31 Dec 41) 

2100 (30 Jun 42) 

155-mm. howitzers (hi-speed) 


1013 (31 Dec 41) 

1541 (30 Jun 42) 

Submachine guns .45-cal 


6029 (30 Jun 41) 

7635 (31 Dec 41) 

ISS-mm. guns (hi-speed) _ _ 


519 (31 Dec 41) 

519 (31 Dec 41) 

Rifles .30-cal. Ml 


215, 045(30 Jun 41) 

341,199 (31 Dec 41) 

Steel helmets _ 


1,289,739 (30 Jun 41) 

2,108,056 (31 Dec 41) 

unit cost of each item, the stocks on hand, 
the resultant shortages, and the approved 
expenditures. The Expenditure Program" 
showed how much money was to be spent 
for each type of equipment, but it did not 
establish any delivery schedules or even 
broad time objectives for procurement. To 
fill this gap, G~4 issued separately in 
August a statement of time objectives that 
served as a target for production plan- 
ners. 3 The "all-important present objec- 
tive" was to provide at the earliest possible 
date initial equipment for the PMP force 
and sufficient monthly production to main- 
tain this force in combat. (Table i) For 
small arms, combat vehicles, tractors, and 
miscellaneous fire control equipment, the 
target date for equipping the PMP force 
was 30 June 1941, and for the 2,000,000- 
man force it was 31 December 1941. For 
antiaircraft and field artillery, the corres- 
ponding deadlines were six months later 
— 31 December 1941 for the PMP and 30 
June 1942 for the larger force. Production 
of ammunition was to reach by 30 Sep- 
tember 1 94 1 the estimated expenditure 
rate of the 2,000,000-man force. 

Many of the items listed in the Time 
Objective were approaching obsolescence. 
All during the 1920's and 1930's Ord- 
nance had been hampered in its develop- 
ment of new and improved materiel by 
lack of money. Ordnance did not have a 
free hand either to develop or to procure 
the materiel it considered most desirable. 
It worked within the framework of Army 
command as a service agency bound to 
meet, as best it could, the wishes of the 
using troops. With the approach of war, 
co-ordination between Ordnance and the 
using arms became closer. It was expressed 
in the approval of new items by the Ord- 
nance Technical Committee on which the 
using arms were represented. But it was 
never without its rough spots. 4 

Placing the First Orders 

Even before the Expenditure Program 
and the Time Objective were issued, re- 

3 Time Objective for Rqmts, approved 26 Aug 
40, inG-4 file 31773, and in OHF. 

4 See Green, Thomson, and Roots, P lanning 
Munitions jor War, p. XXIX, and | ch. VlT| 



quirements for Ordnance items financed 
by the $436 million that became available 
in July 1940 were sufficiently clear to per- 
mit placing some orders with the arsenals 
and private industry. Placing these and 
later orders was a large and complicated 
task, not only because Ordnance was re- 
sponsible for about 1,200 principal articles, 
involving some 250,000 components, but 
also because each order had to be drawn 
up for specific quantities of munitions to 
be delivered according to a definite time 
schedule. Manufacturers could not accur- 
ately estimate unit production costs unless 
they knew the quantities to be produced, 
for unit costs normally declined as volume 
rose. Prospective bidders also required 
blueprints and specifications before they 
could calculate probable costs on items 
they had never before produced. The en- 
tire program required careful balancing so 
that adequate supplies of each component 
would arrive in proper time at the assembly 
points. Pervading the whole atmosphere 
was the demand for speed in signing con- 
tracts and starting production, for the 
dramatic German victories of May and 
June had shocked the American people 
and pointed up the urgent need for a 
stronger national defense. 5 

Because of its extensive advance plan- 
ning, the Ordnance Department was ready 
to act quickly when funds became avail- 
able on 1 July 1940. Unlike 1917, when 
the lack of designs and specifications held 
up production for many months, 1940 
found the Ordnance Department with pro- 
duction drawings of most items ready for 
immediate issue to manufacturers. The 
only delay was with items still undergoing 
test and development and not yet stand- 
ardized, such as the new medium tank. 8 
On the administrative level there were de- 
lays caused by legal restrictions and 

red tape. Procurement officers frequently 
spoke of the need to "take the law into 
their own hands" to get quick action. Only 
gradually were the time-consuming proce- 
dures of the years of peace replaced by 
more expeditious means of conducting 
business. 7 

In dividing orders between the arsenals 
and private industry, the policy was to give 
industry as much work as possible, and 
thus share with it the knowledge of pro- 
duction methods gained by the arsenals, 
and at the same time to avoid overloading 
the arsenals with straight production or- 
ders at the cost of curtailing their develop- 
ment activities. To private industry went 
orders for articles previously produced in 
quantity at the arsenals, items for which 
production methods had been worked out; 
the arsenals were given orders for items not 
yet produced in quantity. 8 The assignment 

5 Memo of USW for CofOrd, 19 Sep 40, sub: 
Priorities and Scheduling, OO 400.12/476. For a 
description of procurement policy and citation of 
numerous directives, see Hist, Ind Serv, Dist 
Admin Br, vol. 101. 

" ( 1 ) Memo of CofOrd for ASW, 1 1 Jul 40, 
sub: Contracts Awarded Under the FY 1941 
Proc Program, OO 381/716 ASW; (2) Replies to 
questions submitted to Maj Gen C. T. Harris, Jr., 
28 Feb 45, OHF; (3) Memo, Brig Gen Gladeon 
M. Barnes for Mr. John J. McCloy, OSW, 1 Apr 
41, sub: Status of Ord Prod, OO 400.12/2386; 
(4) Statement of Maj Gen Wesson prepared for 
Truman Comm., Apr 41, OHF. The story of tank 
develo pment is told in Green, Tho mson, and 
Roots, \Plannins M unition s for War,\ and, f rom 
the procurement viewpoint, in |Chapters X| and 
IXll below. 

7 See Contract Forms and Legal Restrictions in 
preceding chapter. The attitudes of officers in the 
districts is reflected in the district histories. The 
problem is discussed at some length in Smith, 
Army and Economic Mobilization, Chapter III. 

8 ( 1 ) Lecture, Wesson, Ordnance Department 
Procurement; (2) Intervs with Maj Gen Charles 
T. Harris, Jr. and other officers in the summer of 
1950. For the policy on artillery ammunition, see 
Contract Negotiation and Administration, Ord 
Dept, May 1945, I, ch. 5 (a), OHF. 



of specific items to the arsenals for manu- 
facture or for procurement from industry 
posed no special problems, for each arsenal 
had specialized for many years in one or 
two broad classes of materiel. Springfield 
Armory, the center of small arms develop- 
ment, was assigned production of the Mi 
Rifle, and Rock Island, the recuperator for 
the new 105-mm. howitzer. To Watertown 
went orders for gun tubes and carriages; 
to Watervliet, machining of cannon; to 
Picatinny, powder, explosives, and com- 
ponents of artillery ammunition; and to 
Frankford, ammunition and fire control 
instruments. 9 Over half the $50,000,000 
awarded in arsenal orders during early 
July 1940 went for ammunition, and the 
remainder was distributed among such 
items as the Mi rifle, 37-mm. and 90-mm. 
antiaircraft guns and carriages, fire control 
instruments, and "high-speeding" old 75- 
mm. gun carriages by equipping them with 
pneumatic tires and improved springs. 

Most of the awards to industry in July 
1940 were for metal components of artil- 
lery ammunition, including such items as 
577,000 75-mm. cartridge cases with the 
Bridgeport Brass Company, 285,000 3-inch 
shells with the Budd Wheel Company, 
500,000 pieces of brass tubing with the 
Revere Brass and Copper Company, and 
over 3,000,000 artillery shells with the 
United States Steel Corporation. Under 
the heading of automotive equipment, an 
order for 500 heavy tractors went to the 
International Harvester Company, 1,057 
scout cars to the White Motor Company, 
and an armor plate contract for over 
$5,000,000 to the United States Steel Cor- 
poration. Orders for small arms and small 
arms ammunition went mostly to such well 
known firms as General Motors, Colt, 
Remington, DuPont, and U.S. Steel, and 
one contract for construction of a smoke- 

less powder plant costing $26,000,000 was 
placed with the DuPont Company. 10 

Activating the District Offices, 
August 1Q40 

While the first orders under the July 
1940 appropriations were being placed by 
the divisions of the Industrial Service in 
Washington, and by the arsenals, plans 
were on foot to give the districts an im- 
portant share in the procurement process 
when the second supplemental appropria- 
tion, carrying $1,442,000,000 for Ord- 
nance, should pass. At the end of July 
district chiefs and arsenal commanders met 
in Washington to review and discuss pro- 
curement plans. Two weeks later, on 16 
August, the first General Directive on Con- 
tract Negotiation went out to all district 
offices. 11 This directive is generally re- 
garded as marking the "activation" of the 
Ordnance districts in World War II. It did 
not give the districts authority to make 
final awards to industry but made them 
responsible for soliciting bids and discuss- 
ing the terms of contracts. 12 

Army Ord Dept Tentative Program for Proc 
from Industry during the Fiscal Year Beginning 
1 July 1940, OHF. 

10 ( 1 ) Memo, CofOrd for ASW, 1 1 Jul 40, sub: 
Contracts Awarded Under the FY 1941 Procure- 
ment Program, OO 381/716; (2) Interv with 
Maj Gen Charles T. Harris and Brig Gen Burton 
O. Lewis, 13 Jan 53. As new lines were added by 
supplemental agreement the cost of this plant 
eventually exceeded $100,000,000. 

1 1 ( 1 ) Conf of Dist Chiefs and Arsenal Comdrs, 
30 Jul 40, Ord Tech Reds; (2) Ltr, CofOrd to all 
dist offices, 16 Aug 40, sub: Gen Dir on Contr 
Negotiation, OHF. 

1 1 The published history of the New York 
Ordnance District presents a picture of these 
events as seen by a high-ranking officer of that 
district. Chester Mueller, The New York Ordnance 
District in World War II (New York: New York 
Post and Army Ordnance Association, 1947). The 
manuscript history, The Ordnance District Sys- 
tem, 1918-1945, 8 May 45, describes these events 



The ground rules to govern the negoti- 
ation of contracts were set forth in some 
detail by the Chief of Ordnance in the 
directive of 16 August. The importance of 
these rules is hard to exaggerate, for they 
helped to shape some of the most contro- 
versial features of the Ordnance program 
in 1940 and 194 1. Because of the critical 
lack of machine tools, and the prevailing 
emphasis in the War Department on econ- 
omy and speed of delivery, the districts 
were instructed to give first preference to 
plants already holding production orders if 
those plants could fill additional orders 
with existing capacity. Companies allo- 
cated to Ordnance and companies with 
educational orders, production studies, or 
accepted schedules of production were also 
to be given priority in bidding. No limit 
was set to the size of any contract or to the 
size of any producer, but the districts were 
warned that letting many small contracts 
would be uneconomical and would place 
an added strain on the already overloaded 
machine-tool and gage industries. 

Along with the directive of 16 August 
went a list of items on which each district 
was to seek bids. The list had been drawn 
up by the Industrial Service in accordance 
with existing procurement plans of the dis- 
tricts, although in some cases the quanti- 
ties were larger than the planning figures. 
In most cases the districts had in their files 
the technical data for each item, including 
drawings, specifications, and descriptions 
of manufacture as practiced at the arsen- 
als. The list issued on 16 August was 
mainly for forging and machining artillery 

as seen by Brig. Gen. Alfred B. Quinton, Jr., Chief 
of the District Administration Branch in 1940- 
41. OHF. See Harry B. Yoshpe, "Economic Mo- 
bilization Planning between the Two World 
Wars," Military Affairs (Summer 1952), p. 76. 

shells, for manufacture of cartridge cases, 
bomb bodies and fins, booster cases, pyro- 
technics, and a wide variety of fuzes for 
shells and bombs. A few examples will 
illustrate. The Cleveland District was as- 
signed solicitation of bids for over two 
million 3 7 -mm. shells, with small quanti- 
ties of the same shell going to San Fran- 
cisco, New York, and Cincinnati. The ma- 
chining of nearly four million 60-mm. mor- 
tar shells was divided among the Cleveland, 
St. Louis, Philadelphia, and Detroit dis- 
tricts. In most cases the production load 
was divided among at least six districts. 
Deliveries were to start during January or 
February 1941 and were to be completed 
within twelve months. 

With issuance of the August directive, 
the usefulness of the district procurement 
plans was put to the test. The results 
varied, but in general were good. Virtually 
all orders went to allocated facilities, and 
many went to firms that had completed 
educational orders, production studies, or 
schedules of production. 13 The procure- 
ment program got off to a fast start, and 
by early November orders had been placed 
for all ammunition components at a total 
cost of $190,000,000. 14 

All of this work called for intensive effort 
by the small staff of officers and civilians 
in the Office of the Chief of Ordnance 
(usually abbreviated OCO) and necessi- 
tated speedy enlargement of the staff. Gen- 
eral Wesson's staff at the end of May 1940 

13 (1) History, Boston Ordnance District, I, p. 
27; (a) Hist, Birmingham Ord Dist, I, pt. 1, pp. 
137 and 177; (3) History, Gleveland Ordnance 
District, I, pp. 51-52; (4) Ord Dist Hist, Pitts- 
burgh, I, Gen exs. 25, 26, and 27. 

14 Memo, CofOrd for ASW, Weekly Rpt of Ac- 
complishments, 7 Nov 40, Ord Tech Reds (here- 
after cited as Weekly Rpt of Accomplishments 
and Difficulties). 



numbered only 400 — 56 Regular Army 
officers, 3 Reserve officers, and 341 civil- 
ians. 15 During the next two years this staff 
grew by leaps and bounds, reaching a total 
of 5,000 in June 1942. It included a small 
but valuable contingent of Reserve officers 
who had trained with Ordnance during 
the years of peace and were thus prepared 
to step into important administrative po- 
sitions. The Ordnance office outgrew its 
peacetime quarters in the Munitions Build- 
ing, moved temporarily to the Social Secur- 
ity Building on Independence Avenue, and 
then to the newly built Pentagon, still 
under construction in the spring of 1942 
when Ordnance moved in. Meanwhile, 
at Ordnance installations throughout the 
country — such as the district offices, arsen- 
als, and depots — nearly 100,000 civilian 
workers were added to the rolls, not count- 
ing hundreds of thousands of other workers 
employed by Ordnance contractors. All 
the districts drew upon their pools of Re- 
serve officers to find qualified administra- 
tors for key positions. In 1939 and 1940 
the districts were able to recruit competent 
civilian engineers and procurement special- 
ists, but during 1941 the recruitment 
task became more difficult, and many able 
employees were lost to industry or to the 
draft. The level of competence of district 
production engineers tended to decline as 
the demand for war production mounted. 16 

Successes and Failures 

As was to be expected, not everything 
went according to plan during the hectic 
eighteen months leading up to Pearl Har- 
bor, As a general rule, firms that had 
made production studies of ordnance items 
were able to submit more accurate bids 
than firms with less knowledge of the par- 
ticular items. But the firms with most 

technical knowledge were sometimes un- 
derbid by competitors more eager to get 
the award or less conscious of production 
difficulties to be overcome. The lowest bid 
was more often a guess than an accurate 
estimate. 17 Further, the planned procure- 
ment pattern was upset by the fact that 
many businessmen frankly disliked War 
Department contracts because they en- 
tailed a great deal of red tape, demanded 
tolerances much closer than those com- 
monly applied in commercial production, 
and required manufacturers to assume 
abnormal risks. 18 Some companies with 
which the districts had made procurement 
plans over the years either refused to bid 
or, it was suspected, deliberately entered 
high bids to avoid getting an award. As a 
result, contracts occasionally went to less 
desirable firms that experienced difficulty 
in meeting production schedules while the 
more dependable companies later took or- 
ders from the Navy or Air Corps on more 
favorable terms. 19 

Plant Allocations 

The usefulness of plant allocations dur- 
ing the defense period caused sharp dis- 

15 Green, Thomson , and Roots, Planning Muni- 
tions for War, \ch. IV] 

18 Lt Col Frederick C. Winter, Analysis of 
World War II Production Activities of New York 
Ordnance District, 5 Sep 47, Hist, New York Ord 
Dist, VII. 

17 Contract Negotiation and Administration, 
Ord Dept, May 45, ch. 6, p. 133. See also Hist, 
New York Ord Dist, VII, op. cit. 

18 For description of these conditions, see Hist, 
New York Ord Dist, I, pt. a, po. 70-73, and Hist, 
Rochester Ord Dist, I, p. 52. The "formidable web 
of red tape" surrounding government contracts is 
mentioned by Lt. Gen. Levin H. Campbell, The 
Industry-Ordnance Team (New York: Whittlesey 
House, McGraw Hill, 1946), p. 15. 

18 For examples, see histories of the Chicago, 
Cleveland, St. Louis, and Rochester Districts. 



agreement among observers, both then and 
later. Critics of the allocation plan con- 
tended that, like so many other military 
plans, it was better designed for avoiding 
the known mistakes of the last war than 
for meeting the unforeseen needs of the 
next conflict. 20 Others, particularly Ord- 
nance officers assigned to procurement du- 
ties during the emergency period, insisted 
that the allocation system worked remark- 
ably well, even though it was not enforced 
by War Department authority. 21 They 
pointed Qut that, unlike the Quartermaster 
Corps, which, after due deliberation, aban- 
doned its allocation plans during the 
emergency period, the Ordnance Depart- 
ment followed its plans quite closely, plac- 
ing go percent or more of its orders with 
allocated plants. 22 Although the compu- 
tations on which these statements were 
based have not been found, they are 
generally substantiated by a study made at 
the Industrial College in 1945 of military 
contracts let in four representative indus- 
trial areas in 1940-41. 23 

All generalizations as to the use made 
of the allocation plans must be taken with 
a grain of salt. Standing by themselves, 
the figures do not show whether the orders 
went to allocated companies because they 
were allocated or because they were well 
established firms ready to take production 
contracts. It must be borne in mind that, 
had there been no allocation plans at all, a 
large proportion of the orders would in- 
evitably have gone to these firms, for al- 
located plants were generally the most 
important in their field. The plans were an 
important element in the picture, but not 
the only element. Lt. Col. Ray M. Hare, 
who was in the Office of the Under Secre- 
tary and in a good position to observe their 
operation in 1941, commented that many 
of the allocated plants got the contracts 

because they were "the best prepared and 
had the courage to bid the lowest and 
furnish the fastest deliveries on the tricky 
items of munitions that [Ordnance] has 
had to supply." 24 

More important than strict adherence to 
plans for use of allocated facilities, in the 
opinion of many Ordnance officers, was 
the very existence of the system in the 
summer of 1940 with all that it implied in 
terms of surveys and contacts with indus- 
try through district offices. The knowledge 
of available facilities gained by Ordnance 
officers in making surveys of allocated 
plants was never adequate but it was of 
immeasurable value in getting procurement 
under way, particularly during the latter 
half of 1 940. 25 It is of some interest to note 
that the benefits of procurement planning 
were appreciated by industry as well as 

20 For example, see Yoshpe, "Economic Mobili- 
zation Planning between the Two World Wars," 
pt, II, Military Affairs, (Summer 195a), 71-83. 

21 Intervs with Maj Gen Harris, Maj Gen Al- 
fred B. Quinton, Jr., Brig Gen Lewis, and others, 

22 (1) Lecture, Wesson, The Ordnance Depart- 
ment, 9 May 4 i, IGAF, p. 10; (a) Statement by 
Maj Gen Charles M. Wesson before WDAB, 1942, 
H.R., 77th Gong., 1st sess., p. 529. The same 
firrure was cited by Harris in lecture, 25 Jul 41. 
The procedure followed in selecting contractors is 
described in detail in History, Pittsburgh Ord- 
nance District, I, pt. 3, pp. 543ff. 

23 Clarence Niklason, Use of Industrial Mobil- 
ization Plan in World War II, ICAF Research 
Project, RP No. 04, Apr 45. 

24 Lecture, Lt Col Ray Hare, A Brief R6sume 
of Activities of the OUSW, 7 May 41, ICAF, 
P a- 

25 The histories of the districts during World 
War II describe in some detail the activities of 
these offices during the prewar years. See also 
Quinton, The Ordnance District System, pp. 
1-8, and Olejar, Procurement Planning for War 
— Ordnance, pp. 45-60, OHF. Testimony before 
the House Appropriations Committee in the spring 
of 1 94 1 gave high praise to the procurement 
planning of the War Department. 



government. "The studies made in connec- 
tion with the accepted schedules of pro- 
duction," the General Electric Company 
reported in July 1940, "are proving bene- 
ficial in connection with current problems 
as they provide capacity data useful in 
developing current schedules." 28 

District- Arsenal-OCO Relations 

The directive giving the districts author- 
ity to negotiate contracts did not by any 
means indicate that the arsenals and the 
Office of the Chief of Ordnance (OCO) 
were out of the procurement picture. Not 
only did OCO retain full authority to 
make the awards on bids forwarded to 
Washington from the districts but, for ma- 
jor items such as tanks, it also conducted 
negotiations directly with industry without 
going through the district offices. The 
arsenals did the same for certain complex 
items, for development projects, and for 
supplies for their own use. 27 During 1941, 
for example, a single arsenal, Picatinny, 
sent out 200,000 invitations to bid, enclos- 
ing a total of more than 2,000,000 draw- 
ings. In mid-December 1940 the arsenals 
were told to turn over administration of 
all contracts to the districts, but not until 
May 1941 were the districts given indepen- 
dent authority to make awards. Although 
the districts steadily gained ground during 
the defense period, the arsenals and OCO 
carried a major share of the procurement 
load largely because the division chiefs in 
V/ashington were reluctant to turn over to 
the newly activated districts the power to 
place contracts. 28 

Under these circumstances there was not 
only friction between OCO and the dis- 
tricts but also confusion among manufac- 
turers as to who was who in the Ordnance 
Department. When a businessman who 

had signed an accepted schedule of pro- 
duction with the district office for a certain 
item saw one of the arsenals or OCO 
place an order for that item with another 
company he questioned the authority of 
the district and the value of its procure- 
ment planning activities. In some cases, 
after a contract was signed, the contractor 
did not know whether he should deal with 
the district, with the arsenal that normally 
produced the item, or with the Industrial 
Service in Washington. The arsenal that 
produced a given item was regarded as 
the repository of production know-how, 
and the district was the authority on 
contractual terms, but the two sometimes 
overlapped, and there was always the feel- 
ing that the final authority was in Wash- 
ington. 39 Even as late as August 1941 
the district offices complained that they 
were being bypassed by businessmen who 
preferred to deal directly with the Wash- 
ington office, 30 and in December the chief 
of the District Administration Branch de- 
clared at a staff conference that there was 

2e Ltr, General Electric Co. to ANMB, 16 Jul 
40, OO 381/1479 ASW. 

27 See Ord Dept Cir 135, 16 Aug 41, sub: Ord- 
nance Department Procurement Procedure. For 
criticism of this procedure, see Mueller, op. cit., 
p. 116, and History, Philadelphia Ordnance Dis- 
trict, I, pt. 5, p. 30. The friction between the 
arsenals and the districts is mentioned in Quin- 
ton, op. cit., p. aa. 

28 (1) Memo, CofOrd for dists, 37 May 41, sub: 
Procurement Without Advertising, ex. F in Hist, 
Ind Serv, Dist Admin Br., vol. 101 ; (a) Min, 
Wesson Confs, aa Dec 41, p. 1353; (3) OCO Ind 
Serv, Contract Negotiation and Administration, 
Ord Dept, I, 1 1, May 1945. See also Ind Serv Gen 
Instructions No. 19, is Mar 41. 

28 Lt Col Frederick C. Winter, Analysis of 
World War II Production Activities of New York 
Ordnance District, 5 Sep 47, Hist, New York Ord 
Dist, I. 

30 Min, Wesson Confs, 16 Aug 41, p. f045. 



still "too much negotiating going on in 
Washington." 31 

Creating New Facilities 

A large proportion of the Ordnance 
funds obligated during the latter half of 
1940 went for new government-owned fa- 
cilities, mostly plants for making powder 
and explosives and for loading ammuni- 
tion. The contracts for these plants were 
negotiated not by the arsenals or districts 
but through an office created for the pur- 
pose in the Industrial Service by General 
Harris. It should be recalled that in July 
1940 the capacity xtf the United States to 
produce specialized types of munitions was 
limited. Available facilities could turn out 
fewer than 100 light tanks and about 500 
machine guns per month, and only 30 
tons of smokeless powder and 12 tons of 
TNT per day. Against the requirements of 
the Munitions Program of 30 June these 
quantities were altogether inadequate. 32 

Ordnance signed its first contract for a 
new GO CO (government-owned, contrac- 
tor-operated) plant in July 1940 with the 
DuPont Company for construction of a 
smokeless powder works (later named the 
Indiana Ordnance Works), followed in 
August by another with the Chrysler Cor- 
poration for construction of a tank arsenal 
(later named Detroit Ordnance Plant). 33 
A contract with the Hercules Powder 
Company for another smokeless powder 
works was approved in August, as was a 
contract for an ammunition loading plant 
with the Atlas Powder Company. By De- 
cember 1940, a full year before Pearl Har- 
bor, the task of constructing and equipping 
twenty-two major new facilities was under 
way by private corporations for shell- 
loading and for production of chemicals, 
explosives, tanks, guns, and armor plate. 34 

By the end of June 1941 the contracts for 
new facilities reached a total of $576,- 
000,000, roughly equivalent to the sum 
planned the year before as necessary to 
supply the 2,000,000-man force. 85 

One of the major criticisms of the de- 
fense program made by the Truman Com- 
mittee of the Senate and the Tolan 
Committee of the House of Representatives 
in 1 94 1 was that the War Department had 
built new plants needlessly and had failed 
to make full use of existing plant capacity. 
The committees described Army procure- 
ment officers as comparatively helpless in 
dealing with large corporations which re- 
fused to convert their plants to war pro- 
duction and demanded that the govern- 
ment build new plants, with all new 
equipment, for producing munitions. The 
Army's acceptance of such industry pro- 
posals, the committee charged, wasted 
strategic building materials, contributed to 

31 Min, Wesson Confs, 22 Dec 41, p. 1253. Four 
months later the Cincinnati Field Survey made 
for ASF listed as one of its major conclusions, 
"District offices should be given more power." 
Contl Div files of ASF. 

32 A detailed summary of the types of new fa- 
cilities may be found in Expansion of the Activ- 
ities of the Ordnance Department, 1940-41, pp. 
9-10, OHF, and in the various Weekly Statistical 
Report Summaries issued by the Statistical Branch, 
OUSW. See also Campbell, op. cit., ch. 7, and 
Ann Rpt ASW, FY 40, p. 5. 

33 The names of new facilities, according to the 
Ordnance formula, consisted of three parts: ( 1 ) 
the location, (2) the word "Ordnance," and (3) 
"works" if basic materials were required for pro- 
duction and "plant" if the operation was only 
fabrication or assembly. Min, Wesson Confs, 5 
Jul 40, OHF. 

3 4 Chronology of Ord Activities, OHF. 

39 Expansion of Activities of the Ordnance De- 
partment. The reluctance of powder manufac- 
turers to engage in this military production, and 
risk being branded as "merchants of death," is 
described in Henry L. Stimson and McGeorge 
Bundy, On Active Service in Peace and War 
(New York: Harper & Brothers, 1948), p. 353. 



the machine-tool shortage, and delayed 
production of essential equipment. 36 

Insofar as existing facilities that could 
economically be converted to defense pro- 
duction were not so converted, the criti- 
cisms of the Congressional committees were 
justified. But with Ordnance production 
the great bulk of the new facilities did not 
fall into that category. For producing 
smokeless powder and TNT, or for loading 
bombs and artillery shells, there simply 
were no existing facilities suitable for 
conversion. In December 1941, when the 
Under Secretary of War summed up the 
War Department answer to the Tolan 
Committee's criticisms, he vigorously de- 
fended the construction of new Ordnance 
facilities, and assured the committee that 
the Army had not proceeded with erection 
of new plants except where necessary. 37 
Much of the criticism of undue facilities 
expansion during the defense period lost its 
meaning after the outbreak of war. What 
had appeared to be overexpansion in the 
fall of 1941 took on the appearance of 
underexpansion after Pearl Harbor. The 
mounting demand for munitions of all 
types early in 1942 put a severe strain on 
all existing Ordnance facilities and brought 
into war production an ever larger pro- 
portion of civilian industry, including both 
small businesses and the big automobile 


Criticisms, Delays, and Difficulties 

There was much impatience with the 
slowness of the rearmament program dur- 
ing the latter half of 1940, and throughout 
1 94 1. Observers found many opportunities 
to criticize as they watched the vast and 
cumbersome mechanism for Army procure- 
ment swing slowly into action with much 
creaking in the joints. After appropriation 

of funds by Congress, the supply services 
speedily placed their orders with industry, 
but delivery of hard-to-manufacture items 
was a mere trickle throughout the defense 
period. To experienced Ordnance officers 
the small quantities produced during 1940 
-41 came as no surprise. For a full gen- 
eration they had been saying that mass- 
production of munitions could not even 
begin in less than eighteen months. 39 They 
pointed out that Germany had started to 
rearm in 1933 and seven years later had 
not yet reached full production. They cited 
reports of British experience showing that 
it took about two years, on the average, 
for a new munitions plant to reach full 
production. "In no case," reported Col. 
James H. Burns in June 1940, "was an 
ordnance plant [in England] constructed 
and placed in operation in less than 12 
months from date of decision and in some 
instances the time factor exceeded three 

36 (1) S. Rpt No. 480, pt. 3, 17 Nov 41, pp. 
191-99, Truman Comm., 77th Cong,, 1st sess.; 
(2) Second Interim Rpt of Tolan Comm., 77th 
Cong., 1st sess., H.R. Rpt No. 1553. See also Mil 
Rqmts and Materiel Prod, Incl to Memo, Brig 
Gen Harris, Actg CofOrd, for USW, 9 Sep 40, 
OO 400.12/5833-1/2. 

37 Statement of USW before the Select Comm., 
Investigating National Defense Migration, H.R., 
23 Dec 41. 

38 This process of production expansion is 
treated on a commodity basis, covering ammuni- 
tion, artillery, small arms, and tanks, in later 

39 See General Wesson's lectures at the Army 
War College and Army Industrial College in the 
late 1930's. "Balanced armament production does 
not come overnight," the Ordnance Department 
told a House Committee in July 1941, "nor does it 
come within the first half year. It has always been 
recognized that a major military armament effort 
for the United States would require the first year 
to get under way and from six months to a year 
thereafter to reach full production." Ord Dept 
Reply to Questionnaire No. q, Spec Comm. No. 
3, H.R. Comm. on Mil Affairs, 14 Jul 41, OO 



years." 40 But to many people unfamiliar 
with the problem of producing tools of war 
the Ordnance Department appeared to be 
slow and inefficient. In 1940-41, after two 
decades of neglect, and in an economy that 
had learned to eschew arms manufacture 
as something immoral, Ordnance was asked 
to perform an industrial miracle. 41 

Patterson's Criticisms 

As early as 23 August 1940 the newly 
appointed Assistant Secretary of War, 
Robert P. Patterson, opened the season of 
criticism by writing to all the supply serv- 
ices that reports reaching him indicated 
that the procurement program was being 
retarded in some instances by four factors: 
( 1 ) lack of clear requirements to be met 
by the suppliers; (2) unusual military 
specifications which could not be met un- 
der normal commercial procedures; (3) 
unnecessarily close tolerances and too se- 
vere inspection requirements; and (4) fre- 
quent changes in specifications and designs 
affecting work in progress. 42 Patterson 
directed all the supply services to take 
prompt action to eliminate these sources of 
delay, and three days later wrote a con- 
fidential memorandum to the Chief of 
Ordnance to emphasize particularly the 
need for freezing designs. He quoted an 
observer who said the desperate position 
of the British armed forces was due to their 
failure to freeze designs. "The best," 
he commented, "is the enemy of the 
good . . . Germany has demonstrated 
that thousands of imperfect tanks on the 
battlefield are better than scores of perfect 
tanks on the proving ground. . 43 

Patterson's advice was not as easy to 
practice as it was to preach. Ordnance 
could not freeze designs and resist all 
pressure to change, and at the same time 

meet demands for the most advanced 
weapons, particularly when the war in 
Europe was daily revealing a need for new 
or improved equipment. Everyone agreed 
that a thousand "imperfect" tanks on the 
battlefield were better than scores of "per- 
fect" tanks on the proving ground, but 
whether they were better than 500 "more- 
nearly-perfect" tanks on the field of battle 
was a moot question. General Burns tells 
the story that on the day after issuing in- 
structions to freeze designs Patterson was 
asked to approve a contract for helmets. 
"Are these the same old hats we had in 
1 9 18?" he asked. When told that they 
were, he refused to sign until a new helmet 
design was adopted. 44 In July 1940, Pat- 
terson's predecessor had written concern- 
ing the Munitions Program of 30 June: 
"The program obviously cannot be frozen 
either as to quantities or types. ... A 
happy compromise must be effected be- 
tween the two opposites of production 

40 Statement by Col Burns to H.R. Appropri- 
ations Comm., 5 Jun 40 (copy in Gen Burns' 
personal file). See also Munitions for the Army: 
A Five Year Report, prepared by Troyer S. An- 
derson in 1946 for Secretary Patterson, copy in 

41 For comparison with World War I, see man- 
uscript study by Harvey .A. De Weerd, Production 
Lag in the American Ordnance Program, 191 7— 
18, particularly pp. 250-62, OHF. See also Memo* 
Col Burns for CofS, 1 Feb 40, sub: Industrial 
Preparedness Essential to Adequate National De- 
fense, in Gen Burns' personal file. The slow 
progress toward British rearmament in the 1930's 
is described in Michael M. Postan, British War 
Production (London: Her Majesty's Stationery 
Office, 1953). 

43 Memo of ASW for supply services, 23 Aug 
40, OO 400.12/313. Cf. Memo, CofOrd for ASW, 
12 Aug 40, in General Minton's file. 

43 Memo, ASW for CofOrd, 26 Aug 40, sub: 
Freezing Designs, OO 400.1 14/752 Misc. 

44 Interv with Maj Gen James H. Burns, sum- 
mer 1950. 



and perfection in order to obtain most 
effective results." " 

There can be little doubt that manufac- 
turers' complaints of unusual production 
requirements and unnecessarily close toler- 
ances in Ordnance drawings and specifica- 
tions were sometimes justified. The small- 
scale operations during the peace years had 
left their mark on Ordnance designs and 
designers. The arsenals had produced small 
quantities of munitions with the men and 
machines available; they never had full 
opportunity to apply the most modern 
production-engineering ideas or use the 
newest machine tools. "If our designs, as 
some people have said," wrote Lt. Gen. 
Levin H. Campbell, "were 'wrapped 
around a milling machine,' it was because 
we simply could not afford production- 
engineering studies of our various models 
or pilots." 48 The educational orders had 
provided that the contractors recommend 
improved production methods and design 
changes to facilitate mass production, but 
such orders had covered only a small frac- 
tion of Ordnance items. 

From this it should not be inferred that 
the Ordnance Industrial Service was un- 
aware of the problem or was not produc- 
tion-minded. As far back as the days of 
Maj. Gen. Clarence C. Williams, Chief of 
Ordnance from 19 18 to 1930, the philoso- 
phy of using standard industrial designs, 
and avoiding unusual manufacturing 
procedures, had become an established 
principle in the arsenals. It was forcefully 
restated by General Harris in the fall of 
1940. Writing in Army Ordnance, he de- 
scribed in detail the painstaking efforts 
made at Springfield Armory ,to assure ef- 
ficient mass production of the Garand rifle, 
and the installation of a modern high- 
speed production line at Frankford Arsenal 
for the manufacture of ammunition. "The 

Department is making certain," wrote 
General Harris, "that the trends of modern 
engineering and industry in the field of 
mass production shall be woven into the 
very fiber of its organization and prac- 
tice." 47 Ordnance tried, to be sure, and 
made notable progress, but, as later events 
revealed, it fell short of full success in 
preparing for mass production. 

There was also another side to this 
matter that should not be overlooked. 
When manufacturers accustomed to the 
production of civilian goods found them- 
selves faced with the task of producing 
munitions with novel and exacting specifi- 
cations, they sometimes tended to be un- 
duly impatient and critical of Army 
methods. They did not always understand 
the essential complexity of guns and am- 
munition. The rapid-firing machine gun, 
for example, is an intricate and finely 
balanced mechanism whose design has been 
worked out over many years by specialists 
and tested under all sorts of atmospheric 
conditions. A slight change made to speed 
manufacture might appear perfectly inno- 
cent, even trivial, to the production en- 
gineer, but it might also throw the whole 
mechanism out of kilter. As with the matter 
of freezing designs, there was no easy 
solution to the problem of simplifying Ord- 
nance specifications. Each component had 

* s Memo, ASW for Mr. McReynolds, 16 Jul 40, 
sub: Progress in Army Munitions Preparedness, 
G-4 file 31773. 

48 Campbell, op. ext., p. 292. Criticism of Army 
designs, and of military hostility toward sugges- 
tions for improvement, is voiced by Donald M. 
Nelson in Arsenal of Democracy (New York: Har- 
court Brace and Company x 1946), p. 34. 

47 Brig. Gen. Charles T. Harris, Jr., "Armament 
Production, a Study of Ordnance Engineering 
Policies," Army Ordnance, XXI, No. 123 (Novem- 
ber-December 1940), 225. 



to be studied separately and in relation to 
the other parts of its assembly, and before 
production-speeding modifications could, 
safely be made it was necessary to consult 
the research and development specialists 
as well as the production engineers of in- 
dustry. This was accomplished in large 
measure through engineering committees, 
such as the Tank Committee, formed in 
October 1940, that brought together rep- 
resentatives of industry and Ordnance to 
clarify drawings and specifications and to 
discuss changes to speed production. 48 
But committee action was too often taken 
only after trouble developed. 

Early in 1941 Ordnance prepared for 
signature by the Secretary of War a letter 
to all Ordnance districts, arsenals, plants, 
and works emphasizing the necessity for 
"the most searching analysis" of all 
factors affecting production and calling 
for prompt, decisive, energetic action. 49 
Throughout the defense period, Patterson 
exhorted the supply services to speed up 
the procurement of munitions. Twice dur- 
ing one week in April 1941, when German 
submarines were taking heavy toll of At- 
lantic shipping, he asked the Chief of 
Ordnance to expedite deliveries, describing 
the need for increased production as "a 
matter of extreme urgency," and as "vital 
to our national existence." 50 He urged 
'round-the-clock operation of critical ma- 
chinery and unceasing effort to break 
production bottlenecks. In June 1941, 
when he requested all supply services to 
obligate the funds on hand before the end 
of the fiscal year, Ordnance negotiators 
worked night and day to place contracts 
with industry, and were rewarded with a 
commendation from Patterson for having 
placed under contract "the largest peace- 
time program of national defense procure- 
ment in the history of this country." 51 

Some Factors 

Production on some Ordnance items 
was disappointingly slow during the de- 
fense period. By July 1941, for example, 
only an estimated 3 percent of the materiel 
covered by the appropriations for the 1941 
fiscal year, which had begun in July 
1940, had been delivered to troops. 52 It is 
sometimes argued that one reason for the 
slow progress was that manufacturers who 
took defense orders in 1 940 and 1 94 1 were 
not spurred on by the urgency of actual 
war. But a comparison between 1941 and 
1942 does not indicate that manufacturers 
were dilatory before Pearl Harbor. After 
the outbreak of war it took just as long as 
before to get into production on a new 
item. The experience of the 1940-42 era 
suggests that a delay of a year or more in 
getting into large-scale production on a 
new item of ordnance is practically in- 
evitable, war or no war. 53 

48 Brief notes about these committees may be 
found in Weekly Reports of Accomplishments and 
Difficulties, beginning with the report dated 31 
October 1940. 

49 Ltr, SW to CofOrd and others, 19 Feb 41, 
sub: Ord Prod. , . ,copy in OHF. 

50 (1) Memos, USW for CofOrd, 21 Apr- and 
25 Apr 41, in OHF Policy papers; (2) Chronology 
of Ord Activities; (3) Ltr, SW for CofOrd, 19 
Feb 41, sub: Ord Prod under the National De- 
fense Program, copy in History, Denver Ordnance 
Plant, I, ex. 71. 

51 Ltr, USW to CofOrd, 2 Jul 41, sub: Com- 
mendation. . . , OO 201.2/14. See also Min, Wes- 
son Confs, 3 Jun 41, p. 896, and 19 Jun 41, p. 
935, and Memo, USW for Supply Services, 31 
May 41, sub: Obligation of Current Funds, OHF. 
Patterson also praised Ordnance for speedy place- 
ment o f contracts when he testified before 
Congressional committees. See Hearings, WDAB, 
Apr 41, 77th Cong., 1st sess., p. 116. 

53 Ord Dept Reply, Questionnaire No. 2. Spec 
Comm. No. 3, H.R. Comm. on Mil Affairs, 14 Jul 
41, p. 12, OO 400.12/4454. 

53 For discussion of this point see Hist, Pitts- 
burgh Ord Dist, I, pt. 4, pp. 712-22. 



A brief recital of time-consuming factors 
that delayed production in 1940-41 will 
illustrate. The time required to solicit bids, 
make awards, and draw up formal con- 
tracts^ — usually two or three months — was 
only the beginning. After receiving his 
government order the contractor had to 
make a detailed engineering study of his 
shop and perhaps rearrange his equipment 
for more efficient operation. In most cases 
he had to procure additional equipment, 
and the delay in delivery of a single item, 
such as a lathe or a heat-treating furnace, 
might hold up the entire production pro- 
cess for months. For most items of ord- 
nance, manufacturers found it impossible 
to use existing production lines; they had 
to start nearly from scratch to create new 
production setups. When, for example, a 
large locomotive company in the New 
York District was awarded a contract for 
155-mm. gun carriages in August 1940, it 
did not convert its existing production 
lines but removed all the old equipment 
from a long unused foundry building, put 
in new concrete floors, replaced the electric 
wiring, and literally built a new production 
line from the ground up. All this took time, 
but the company felt that it was sound 
manufacturing practice. 54 

After receiving his government order, 
every contractor had also to obtain a sup- 
ply of materials — not always an easy job 
in 1940 when shortages were becoming 
increasingly common, particularly among 
the grades of steel, copper, and aluminum 
needed for ordnance manufacture. Each 
contract for the machining of shell had to 
be geared to the availability of forgings. To 
operate on a 3-shift, 24-hour day, contrac- 
tors had to hire additional workers and 
train them for the specialized jobs they 
were to fill. In recruiting new workers, 
contractors found that the years of de- 

pression had taken a heavy toll of skilled 
labor throughout American industry. These 
years had also taken their toll of manage- 
ment if the occasional reports of pro- 
duction inefficiency are any criterion. 55 

During early 1941 Ordnance began to 
complain that new and expanding high- 
level agencies created in Washington to 
manage the defense program were hinder- 
ing procurement. Accustomed to the com- 
paratively simple administrative structure 
which prevailed before 1940, when the 
final authority on nearly all procurement 
matters for the Army was the Assistant 
Secretary of War, Ordnance officers fre- 
quently objected to the growing adminis- 
trative overhead. At the end of May 1941, 
for example, General Harris went so far as 
to state that the whole production program 
might soon come to a standstill because 
"there are too many people in other eche- 
lons who desire to consider and approve 
each project." 56 He declared that it took 
six times as long in the spring of 1941 to 
place orders as it had taken in the fall of 
1940, and cited as one example of unrea- 
sonable delay a project for tank parts 
which had been held in the Office of Pro- 
duction Management (OPM) for nearly a 
month. But General Harris' complaint did 
not stem the growth of the co-ordinating 
hierarchy, and Ordnance officers continued 
to complain of excessive administrative 

34 Hist, Rochester Ord Dist Hist, I, pt. 2, p. 59. 
See article in The New York Times, January a, 
1 94 1, p. 14, outlining some 40 steps involved in 
procurement of each type of weapon. 

55 Hist, Pittsburgh Ord Dist, I, pt. 4, pp. 716- 

56 Min, Wesson Confs, a8 May 41. In his testi- 
mony before the Truman Committee in April 
i94t, Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson entered 
a similar complaint. Hearings, Truman Comm., pt. 
1, 15 Apr 41, pp. 35-36. See also Smith, Army 
and Economic Mobilization. 



machinery throughout the defense period 
and well into the war period. 57 

Because a large share of Ordnance pro- 
duction required the machining of metals 
to fine tolerances, the munitions program 
of 1940 brought a demand for thousands 
of complicated and costly tools such as 
grinding, boring, broaching, and drilling 
machines, and lathes of various types. In 
their prewar planning, Ordnance officers 
had attempted to catalog the tools pos- 
sessed by various manufacturing concerns 
and select for wartime production the 
companies that would need least retool- 
ing. But in many instances manufacturers 
found that for most efficient mass- 
production of munitions they needed to 
add new machines or replace some of their 
standard machine tools with new, special- 
purpose equipment. Great Britain and 
France placed large orders in this country 
for machine took early in 1940, as did 
companies holding Navy and Air Corps 
contracts, and the nation's small machine- 
tool industry was swamped with orders. 58 

In spite of the measures taken to allevi- 
ate it, the machine-tool shortage among 
Ordnance contractors continued to grow 
worse during the winter of 1940-41 and 
in mid-March became so critical that Gen- 
eral Wesson presented the matter to the 
Under Secretary in a memorandum with 
the ominous title, Probable Failure of Ord- 
nance Program. Citing the policy of the 
Army and Navy Munitions Board 
(ANMB) that gave first priority to Navy 
and Air Corps orders, 59 General Wesson 
declared that Ordnance contractors, with 
low priorities, could not acquire the tools 
they needed to get into production and 
meet their delivery schedules. With large 
new production programs in the offing, he 
recommended that remedial measures be 
taken before demands for new production 

brought further delays in machine-tool de- 
liveries. "Otherwise," the general con- 
cluded, "the situation which is now critical 
may become calamitous." 60 

This was strong language, but the Under 
Secretary was not moved by it. Rather 
than propose a sweeping increase in Ord- 
nance priorities, which would adversely 
affect other major programs, Patterson re- 
quested more specific details on machine 
tools most urgently needed by Ordnance 
contractors. To provide this detailed infor- 
mation the Ordnance office directed each 
district to get in touch with all its con- 

57 For further discussion of Ordnance relations 
with higher authorities see Green, Thomson, and 
Roots, op. cit., Chapter VI. The history of the 
civilian superagencies is told in Bureau of the 
Budget, The U nited States at War, and Civilian 
Production Administration, Industrial Mobiliza- 
tion for War. 

68 For a brief description of the machine-tool 
problem in 1941, see testimony of Secretary of 
War Stimson and Mr. Knudsen before the Tru- 
man Committee, in Hearings. Truman Comm., pt. 
i, pp. 13 and 10a. The file kept by Maj. Elmer 
E. Barnes, Chief of Priorities Section in the 
OUSW, contains weekly reports on the priorities 
system during 1940-41. See ASF 205.04, Prod 
Div 3 19. 1. The Minutes, Wesson Conferences, in 
early 1941 contain many references to the problem, 

09 The priorities directive issued by the ANMB 
on 27 November 1940 gave the highest rating, 
A-i-a, to supplies and equipment for manufac- 
ture of machine tools and gages. The second 
highest rating, A-i-b, went almost entirely to Air 
Corps and Navy items, and included only a few 
Ordnance items, chiefly aircraft machine guns and 
small arms ammunition. By May 1941 only small 
arms and ammunition were as high as the A-i-b 
category. See Min, Wesson Confs, 31 May 41, pp. 

60 Memo, CofOrd for USW, 12 Mar 41, sub: 
Probable Failure of Ordnance Program, OO 400.- 
12/2085. See also Memo, Col Thomas J. Hayes 
for Lt. Col. Alfred B. Johnson, 4 Mar 41, OO 
4 13.8/ 1 772, and a report by USW, 3 Mar 41, 
sub: Estimate of Production Possibilities Calendar 
Years 1941 and 1942, copy in OHF. The histories 
of the districts describe the effect of the machine- 
tool shortage on production, particularly Hist, 
Rochester Ord Dist, I, pt. 2, p. 68. 



tractors and compile a list of undelivered 
machine tools that were holding up pro- 
duction. It was a long and tedious process 
that went on for many weeks. 61 

Meanwhile the Office of Production 
Management tackled the problem from 
other angles. It stimulated the production 
of new tools, promoted the use of sub- 
contractors possessing adequate equip- 
ment, took direct action to solve individual 
bottleneck cases, and endeavored to ferret 
out and put to work second-hand tools 
which were not being used. Late in August 
1 94 1 the ANMB issued a new priorities 
directive which slightly improved the Ord- 
nance position, 62 but the lack of machine 
tools continued to hamper Ordnance pro- 
duction throughout 1941 and beyond. 
General Harris reported two days before 
Pearl Harbor that delivery dates on ma- 
chine tools were "most unsatisfactory," 93 

As with the problem of freezing designs 
or simplifying Ordnance equipment, there 
was no easy solution to the machine-tool 
problem. Each case had to be considered 
on its merits, and in relation to all other 
cases. It was impossible for Patterson, the 
ANMB, or OPM to accede to General 
Wesson's request for a higher priority on 
Ordnance items without at the same time 
giving lower priorities to some Navy and 
Air Corps orders, a policy which would 
have amounted to little more than robbing 
Peter to pay Paul. 64 Whether, in the 
broad national view, considering the rela- 
tive urgency of ships, airplanes, guns, 
tanks, and all the other paraphernalia of 
war, it was wise to give Ordnance produc- 
tion such a low priority is beyond the scope 
of this study to determine. But there can 
be no doubt that it was a physical impos- 
sibility for the Ordnance Department fully 
to overcome the handicap of that low 
priority during 1941. It was, in the words 

of General Campbell, "the most heart- 
breaking bottleneck of the early armament 
period." 65 

Engineering Advisory Committees 

At the start of the munitions program, 
Ordnance officers realized that countless 
questions and problems would arise as 
civilian manufacturers undertook to make 
complex military items on the basis of 
Ordnance drawings and specifications. 
From experience in World War I, they 
knew that interpretation of drawings and 
specifications would require close super- 
vision if widespread failure to pass inspec- 
tion were to be avoided. Ordnance was also 
aware of the fact that its drawings and 
specifications, running into tens of thou- 
sands, were not perfect and would need 
careful checking. To meet this situation 
Ordnance created, in the spring of 1941, 
twenty-five groups known as Engineering 
Advisory Committees. All manufacturers 
of tanks were represented on one commit- 
tee, all manufacturers of mobile artillery 

81 Correspondence on this and other phases of 
the machine-tool problem is filed in OO 413.8. 
For a brief statement on the specific Ordnance 
items being delayed for lack of machine tools, see 
Weekly Stat Rpt Summary No. 51, 21 Jun 41, 
Stat Br, OASW. 

82 ANMB Priorities Dir, 20 Aug 41. See also 
correspondence related to this directive in History 
of Ordnance Priorities Unit, OHF. 

03 Ord Cir Ltr, 5 Dec 41, sub: Machine Tools, 
OO 413.8/9334. Tanks were given A-i-a prior- 
ity by ANMB ltr to all supply services, 4 Dec 41, 
copy in Hist, Ord Priorities Unit. 

64 See Memo from Patterson and James V. 
Forrestal for ANMB Priorities Comm., 20 Aug 41, 
directing the committee not to yield to pressure 
for higher priorities. 

* 5 Campbell, op. cit., p. 15. For discussion of 
the parallel position of the British Army during 
the rearmament period, see Postan, op. cit., pp. 
2 7ff. Because of its low priority the author calfs 
the British Army "the Cinderella service." 



carriages on another, and so on down- the 
list through rifles, shells, machine guns, 
bomb fuzes, etc. A representative of in- 
dustry headed each committee while an 
Ordnance officer served as permanent sec- 
retary. An opinion of the Attorney General 
in April 1 94 1 provided some assurance that 
as long as the committees kept within 
prescribed bounds they would not stand in 
violation of the antitrust laws. 66 

At meetings of the committees the mem- 
bers, usually engineers, exchanged informa- 
tion about sources of scarce materials, 
use of substitute materials, or new pro- 
duction techniques. They frequently rec- 
ommended to the Ordnance Department 
that certain design changes be made or 
that specifications be revised to speed pro- 
duction. All this activity was beneficial to 
Ordnance, for it brought to bear on each 
problem topflight engineering talent from 
industry. But in the opinion of Brig. Gen. 
Gladeon M. Barnes, who was .in charge of 
all Ordnance engineering, the greatest ben- 
efit was the healthy psychological reaction 
from the association of Ordnance officers 
and civilian engineers. "The meetings 
have done much to overcome the indus- 
trial conception of the massive immobility 
of Government agencies," wrote General 
Barnes, "and have increased the desira- 
bility [of] Government contracts." 67 
These engineering committees were the 
forerunners of scores of industry integra- 
tion committees formed the following year 
under the leadership of General Camp- 
bell. 68 

Big Business vs Small Business 

During 1940-41 a steady drumfire of 
criticism was directed at the defense agen- 
cies — Navy as well as Army — for placing 
orders with big business to the neglect of 

many small concerns scattered throughout 
the country. The criticism appeared in 
newspaper and magazine articles and in 
official reports of the Truman and Tolan 
Committees which investigated the defense 
program during 1941 and later. These 
Congressional committees observed that, in 
spite of procurement plans, all the services 
in 1940 entered into a "mad scramble" to 
procure the munitions they needed, and 
each desired to place its contracts with the 
biggest and most reliable concerns. The 
investigators charged that procurement of- 
ficers favored big business because it was 
less trouble, and took less time, to award 
a single large contract to a big corporation 
than to divide up the order among many 
small companies, or provide for extensive 
subcontracting. They denounced the dis- 
proportionate emphasis put on big business 
by the military services, asserting that it 
led to unnecessary plant expansion, delays 
in production, heavy migration of workers 
to congested areas, and other problems. 89 
In answering criticism of this nature, 
War Department spokesmen delcared that 
it should have caused no great surprise 
when large concerns which normally got 
the lion's share of civilian business also got 

68 Ltr, Attorney Gen Robert H. Jackson to John 
Lord O'Brian, Gen Counsel, OPM, 29 Apr 41, 
copy in History, Small Arms Branch, Ind Div., 

BT Brig. Gen. Gladeon M. Barnes, "Armament 
Engineering," Army Ordnance, XXII, No. 127 
(July-August tg^i), 33-35. See also Min, Wesson 
Confs, 30 Jan 42, on which date Col. William A. 
Borden submitted an oral report on the engineer- 
ing committeg_argan ized by the Industrial Service-. 

88 See chs.[vi1and [VIII 


69 (1) S. Rpt No. 480, pt. 3, pp. 191-99, Tru- 
man Comm., 77th Cong., 1st sess. ; (2) Third In- 
terim Rpt, Tolan Comm., 77th Cong., 2d sess., 
9 Mar 42, H.R. Rpt No. 1879. For testimony by 
witnesses, see Hearings, Truman Comm., pt. 6. 
Similar testimony appears in WDAB, 1942, H.R. 
77th Cong., 1st sess. 



the lion's share of defense contracts. They 
pointed out that military procurement of- 
ficers, and their associations in OPM, were 
not social reformers bent upon changing 
the nation's industrial pattern, but prac- 
tical realists charged with the sobering re- 
sponsibility for procuring munitions as 
quickly and surely as possible. Although it 
dealt with some small concerns, Ordnance 
awarded the great majority of its early 
contracts to big corporations because these 
corporations had the facilities, the experi- 
ence, and the engineering skill to turn out 
the required armament in the shortest pos- 
sible time. Most Ordnance contracts went 
to allocated plants that had been surveyed 
and selected beforehand as the most prom- 
ising producers of war materiel. "To have 
done otherwise," wrote General Campbell, 
"would have been national suicide. The 
small plants of the country could not have 
turned out one day's requirements of am- 
munition. . . . Heavy manufacturing au- 
tomatically demanded large concerns." T0 

It was largely through subcontracting 
that small businesses were brought into the 
Ordnance program in the defense period. 71 
Although Ordnance had no authority to 
direct its prime contractors to use specific 
subcontractors, or otherwise attempt to tell 
them how to manage their affairs, it did 
encourage voluntary subcontracting wher- 
ever possible. To assist small businesses- — 
usually defined as those employing fewer 
than five hundred workers — General Wes- 
son in February 1 94 1 directed each district 
to establish a display room to exhibit 
samples and photographs of Ordnance 
items, assemblies, and components. 72 By 
visiting these rooms, examining in detail 
the items on display, and discussing man- 
ufacturing requirements with district 
officials, a small businessman could decide 
which items or components he was quali- 

fied to produce, either as prime contractor 
or subcontractor. When the Defense Con- 
tract Service was created in OPM early in 
1 94 1 each Ordnance district appointed an 
officer to maintain liaison with that serv- 
ice. In September 1941, to promote wider 
distribution of defense orders, the require- 
ment that the districts negotiate only with 
allocated facilities was rescinded, 73 and in 
November and December Ordnance par- 
ticipated in the Defense Special Trains that 
toured the country to show small manu- 
facturers, what the supply services wished 
to buy. 

Bringing small business into the defense 
program was an endless task that con- 
tinued throughout the defense period and 

70 (1) Campbell, op. cit., p. 89; (2) Memo, 
CofOrd to [no addressee given], 4 Apr 41, sub: 
S. Res No. 71, OO 032/37; (3) Statement of 
Patterson before the Select Comm., Investigating 
National Defense Migration, H.R., 23 Dec 41, 
USW file 004.4 Allocation of facilities, Colonel 
Hare; (4) Statements of Patterson before Truman 
Committee, 16 Apr 41 and 15 Jul 41, Hearings, 
Truman Comm., pt. 1, pp. 60-61, and pt. 6, p. 
15 1 5. The official history of WPB observes that 
Mr. Knudsen's ties with big industry, and his em- 
phasis on proven ability to produce, delayed the 
utilization of small business. Civilian Production 
Administration, Industrial Mobilization for War, 

71 For an account of this process, and a col- 
lection of documentary evidence, see R. F. Mc- 
Mullen, Smaller War Plants: Their Part in the 
Ordnance War Effort, PSP 71, Jun 45, OHF, and 
Maj. Gen. Levin H. Campbell, Jr., Subcontracting 
in Ordnance Procurement, a rpt, 1 8 Jun 42, OHF. 
The difficulties of subcontracting as seen at the 
district office level are set forth by Lt. Col. Freder- 
ick C. Winter, Analysis of World War II Produc- 
tion Activities of the New York Ordnance District, 
Hist, New York Ord Dist, VII, pp. 22-24. 

72 Cir Ltr, CofOrd, 21 Feb 41, sub: Display 
Rooms, OO 381/ 1 909 1, See also ASW Ltr to 
Chiefs of Supply Arms and-Sc-vs, 20 Dec 40, sub: 
Use of Sub-contractors. . ., OHF. 

73 Cir Ltr, CofOrd, 23 Sep 41, sub: Distribution 
of Defense Orders, ex. 6 in study entitled Subcon- 
tracting in Ordnance Procurement, OHF. 



the years of war. 74 As production in- 
creased there was some spreading of prime 
contracts to smaller firms such as those 
that made up the New England Small 
Arms Corporation. 75 Even more impor- 
tant, small business firms got into defense 
production as subcontractors or sub- 
subcontractors. For this reason the extent 
to which Ordnance used small business 
during the defense period is not easy to 
measure, but one investigation of the prob- 
lem made in the Cincinnati area for ASF 
a few months after Pearl Harbor sheds 
some light on the matter. "We hunted for 
the 'small business' which could take on 
prime war contracts with its existing equip- 
ment and which is not already at work or 
well known to the supply arms and serv- 
ices," the survey team reported. "We 
found none. . . . The 'small business' 
which needs only money or a contract to 
get going on critical material is, in this 
area, a myth." 76 

Status of Rearmament, December 1^41 

To what extent did the United States 
succeed in rearming during the eighteen 
months before December 1941? Critics of 
the armed services have charged that the 
rearmament effort was bungled, while mil- 
itary spokesmen have stoutly denied the 
charge. In December 1941, for example, 
the Tolan Committee pulled no punches in 
asserting that defense production to date 
had been a failure, and a few days later 
the Under Secretary of War vehemently 
denied that it had been a failure. The 
arguments on both sides have continued to 
command widespread interest among mili- 
tary planners because the accomplishments 
and shortcomings of the procurement effort 
during the defense period afford a tangible 

means of evaluating the methods em- 
ployed to mobilize the nation for war. 77 

By considering only the more important 
types of guns, ammunition, and combat 
vehicles actually produced during the de- 
fense period, the Ordnance record may be 
quickly summarized. (Table g) In most 
cases the quantities procured far exceeded 
the quantities for initial equipment of the 
PMP force of 1,200,000 men. When com- 
pared with, the Time Objective issued in 
August 1940 the record reveals that, in 
small arms, light artillery, and tanks, pro- 
duction went far beyond the original re- 
quirements. But with medium and heavy 
artillery, notably the 105-mm. howitzer 
and the 155-mm. gun, the quantities pro- 
cured fell considerably short of require- 
ments. Among smaller items, the steel hel- 
met also lagged far behind the 1940 
schedule, primarily because a satisfactory 
helmet design had not been developed and 
standardized before 1940. With small arms 
ammunition, the goals set by the Time Ob- 
jective were not reached by the fall of 
1 94 1, for Frankford Arsenal remained the 

74 For an account of the problem from the 
NDAC and OPM level, see Civilian Production 
Administration, Industrial Mobilization for- War, 
pp. 61-63 and pp. 146-47. 

Hist, Boston Ord Dist, VI-VII (Jan-Jun 



44), pp. 40-48. See also ch 

76 Cincinnati Field Survey, Apr 42, Contl Br, 
ASF, p. 16. See also Memo, Alfred R. Glancy, 
ASF Hq, for CofOrd, quoted in History, Cincin- 
nati Ordnance District, I, pt. I, pp. 60-61. 

77 See the Second Interim Rpt of the Select 
Comm., Investigating National Defense Migration, 
December 19, 1941, H.R., 77th Cong., ist sess., 
H.R. Rpt 1553, and the reply by Patterson, De- 
cember 23, 1 94 1, USW file 004.4 Allocation of 
Facilities- For high praise of the prewar planning 
and the speed with which Ordnance launched its 
procurement program in the defense and early war 
periods, see remarks by Somervell in Rpt of Conf, 
Ord Dist Chiefs, 22 Apr 44, copy in Hist, Detroit 
Ord Dist, vol. 1 17. 

Table 2 — Selected Ordnance Items Procured, July 1940— December 1941 


Rifle, .30 cal. Ml 

Submachine gun, .45 cal 

Machine gun, .30 cal 

Machine gun, .50 cal 

Mortar, 60-mm. and 81-mm 

Gun, 37-mm. (tank, AT, AA, aircraft) 

Gun and howitzer, 75-mm 

Gun, 90-mm., antiaircraft 

Gun, 3", field and antitank 

Howitzer, L05-mm 

Gun, 155-mm 

Light tanks 

Medium tanks 

Scout cars and carriers 

Small arms ammunition (rds) 

Artillery ammunition (rds) 




Source: Theodore E. Whiting et al.. Statistics, a volume to be published in the series UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD 

only source of production until new plants 
were completed. In the over-all picture of 
the Army's equipment on hand there was 
little room for complacency on the eve of 
Pearl Harbor. 

More important, in the eyes of Ord- 
nance procurement officers, than materiel 
on hand, was the promise of vastly in- 
creased future production that lay in the 
new facilities built and equipped during 
1940-41. It is not too much to say 
that within a period of less than eight- 
een months something resembling a new 
industry had been created, with seven- 
teen government-owned, contractor-oper- 
ated (GOGO) plants actually in produc- 
tion and thirty-two additional plants under 
construction or in the negotiation stage. 78 
Several large ammunition plants and works 
— Lake City, Denver, Baytown, Gadsden, 
Iowa, Kankakee, Weldon Springs, and 
others — came into production in Septem- 

ber and October 1941, and by the end of 
the year there was at least one of every 
essential type of government-owned am- 
munition plant in operation, including 
TNT, DNT, tetryl, toluene, anhydrous 
ammonia, smokeless powder, bag loading, 
and shell loading. 79 A dozen new privately 
owned plants were also in production, in- 
cluding 6 for machine guns, 4 for artillery, 
1 for armor plate, and 1 for tanks. Only 3 
of these plants had required new construc- 
tion (the tank, armor-plate, and 37-mm. 
gun plants) but all had required com- 

78 ( 1 ) Weekly Stat Rpt Summary No. 25, 20 
Dec 41, Stat Br, OUSW; (2) Directory of GOCO 
Plants, OHF. 

79 ( 1 ) Notes on lecture by Brig Gen Leonard 
Ayres before H.R. Comm. on Mil Affairs, 25 Feb 
42, ASF Contl Divfile 350.001; (2) Memo, USW 
for Harrv Hopkins, 13 Jan 42, and Memo of 
CofOrd for USW, 7 Jan 42, in USW file 104, 
Ammunition. For further di scuss ion ^ammuni- 
tion production, see Chapters |VI| and VII below. 



pletely new equipment. 80 Although the 
materiel turned out by these new plants 
during the defense period does not loom 
large in the total production figures — 
about 5 percent of total 1940-45 Ord- 
nance procurement — the existence of these 
producing units in December 1941 was of 
inestimable value to the United States and 
its allies during the war years that lay 
ahead. 81 

Neither Ordnance nor the War Depart- 
ment itself was given full freedom during 
the defense period to procure all the muni- 
tions it felt the Army needed. Both were 
limited by Congressional appropriations 
and bound by long-established regulations 
and policies that set the framework within 
which procurement took place. Hurried 
production is usually high-cost production, 
and the defense period was not a time of 
all-out production at any cost. It was more 
nearly a time for "business as usual." 
Ordnance was also handicapped by having 
to take a third-rate priority behind the 
Navy and Air Corps, and by having to 
meet constantly shifting requirements for 
items that took a long time to produce. In 
the mushrooming defense economy Ord- 
nance found great difficulty in recruiting 
capable production engineers and procure- 
ment experts to staff its arsenals, districts, 
and Washington offices. As a result of these 

and other factors Ordnance encountered 
many delays and difficulties which under 
different circumstances might have been 
avoided. Nevertheless, it must be recorded 
that the really essential things were ac- 
complished with remarkable speed — con- 
tracts were let, district procurement offices 
were activated, new plants were built, the 
arsenals began to hum with activity, and 
production of war materiel started at 
countless private industrial plants. By the 
time of the attack on Pearl Harbor, just 
eighteen months from June 1940, the 
Ordnance program in most lines was shift- 
ing into high gear and needed only further 
acceleration and expansion along the es- 
tablished course to meet the requirements 
of a world-wide shooting war. 82 

80 Weekly Stat Rpt Summary No. so, 15 Nov 
41, Stat Br, OUSW. 

81 For comment on this matter see Anderson, 
Munitions for the Army. 

82 For a parallel appraisal of the defense period 
from the ASF level, see Hist of Purchases Div, 
ASF, a manuscript in OCMH files. For a con- 
temporary journalistic comment see Time, October 
27, 1941, p. 38: "On some counts [Ordnance] 
has not made a passing grade. Overall, the aver- 
age has been reasonably good." Figures showing 
the mounting volume of munitions produced in 
1949 are shown in Civilian Production Adminis- 
tration, Official Munitions Production of the 
United States, (Washingtion, 1 May 1947)- 


The Problem of Requirements 

To persons not intimately acquainted 
with procurement of military supplies the 
critical importance of exact and timely 
requirements figures is often not fully ap- 
parent. But a moment's reflection suggests 
that the mass production of weapons and 
ammunition cannot get under way in an 
orderly manner until procurement officials 
know exactly what types are to be pro- 
duced, what quantities are required, and 
what delivery schedules are to be met. 
Only with such detailed information, along 
with countless technical specifications and 
blueprints, can production engineers deter- 
mine what plants and equipment will be 
needed, how much labor will be required, 
and what materials will be necessary. 
Without computation of requirements for 
each of the thousands of items of equip- 
ment needed by the armed forces of the 
United States and its allies in World War 
II, scheduling of balanced production 
would have been impossible and the whole 
productive effort would have run the risk 
of being plunged into chaos. 1 "It is literally 
true," wrote a War Production Board of- 
ficial, "that half the production battle is 
won when we have decided what we want 
to produce, how much ... we want to 
produce, and when we want it." 2 

A story that dramatically illustrates the 
importance of exact figures for military 
supply requirements was told by men who 
were close to William S. Knudsen when he 

came to Washington in the spring of 1940 
to help mobilize American industry for 
war production. In conference with Army 
procurement officials, one of Knudsen's 
first questions was stated bluntly and 
simply: "What do you want?" When ad- 
vised of the Army's mobilization plan with 
its provision for arming an initial protec- 
tive force of four hundred thousand men 
within three months of M-Day, and an 
additional eight hundred thousand men 
after one year, Knudsen shook his head. 
"That's not what I want," he declared. 

1 For the history of requirements from the War 
Department level, see Smith, Army and Economic 
Mobilization, ch. VI-VIII, and Leighton and 
Coakley, Global Logistics and Strategy, 

'943> ch. XII. See also a typescript study, Lt. Col. 
Simon M, Frank, The Determination of Army 
Supply Requirements, OGMH Files. A similar 
study from the Ordnance level, entitled Ordnance 
Requirements, 1939-46, consisting of one volume 
of narrative and three volumes of documents, was 
prepared as PSP 55 by the Ordnance Historical 
Branch, July 1945, OHF. Another is Chapter 
XVII in Ordnance Administration, part IV, a 
draft manuscript by Richard F. McMullen, 1945, 
OHF. For the WPB viewpoint, see CPA, Indus- 
trial Mobilization for War, Part III, Chapter 4. 

2 Unsigned Memo in WPB PD file 21a Prod 
Program — Objectives, NA. For a brief review of 
military requirements as viewed from the WPB 
level, see Wartime Production Achievements and 
the Reconversion Outlook report of WPB chair- 
man, 9 Oct 45. See also Richard U. Sherman, Jr., 
The Formulation of Military Requirements for 
Munitions and Raw Materials, written chiefly 
from WPB sources, Mar 53, IGAF library UG 



"I want to know what kind of equipment 
you need for these men — and how many 
pieces of each kind. Please tell me how 
many pieces." 3 

For the Ordnance Department, knowing 
well in advance "how many pieces" was of 
utmost importance because mass produc- 
tion of munitions could not be improvised 
on the spur of the moment as could the 
production of many civilian-type articles. 
In World War I, U.S. troops were ready 
for combat within a year after the declara- 
tion of war, but they had to be equipped 
in large measure with munitions obtained 
from the Allies. As the preceding chapters 
have emphasized, it takes months, or even 
years, for civilian industry to get ready to 
produce intricate weapons of war such as 
tanks, artillery, and fire control instru- 
ments. From 1940 to 1942 hard-to-manu- 
facture munitions were generally known as 
"critical" items as distinguished from 
"essential" items which posed less serious 
production problems. For both classes, but 
particulary for those in the critical cate- 
gory, it was most desirable that require- 
ments be established as accurately as pos- 
sible, and long in advance of expected 
need. 4 The fact that the objective was 
never wholly achieved constituted one of 
the most serious difficulties faced by Ord- 
nance during World War II. On this 
point all Ordnance officers charged with 
broad procurement responsibility were 
agreed. How this came about and how the 
shape and nature of the requirements prob- 
lem were determined by a variety of fac- 
tors can be understood, at least in part, 
by looking into the process of forming 
policy and making the computations. 

Elements of Requirements Computation 

The Ordnance Department did not par- 
ticipate directly in making top-level policy 

decisions that determined over-all require- 
ments for military supplies. It had the 
technical service function of making de- 
tailed computations on the basis of policies 
determined by higher authority. The size 
of the Army, manner of its organization, 
nature of its equipment, and schedules for 
its deployment overseas — all these matters 
were decided by the nation's h*"ghest mili- 
tary and political authorities. 5 Once made, 
these decisions were passed on to Ordnance 
and other supply branches by the General 
Staff in the form of numerous lists and 
tables on which procurement computations 
were based. To describe each of these 
documents and to outline the various steps 
in the procedure of requirements calcula- 
tion would lead into bypaths of interest to 
no one but the requirements specialist. 
The following account, therefore, touches 
only broad principles and problems. 6 

3 Interv with Maj Gen James H. Burns, summer 
1950. See also Knudsen's and Leon Henderson's 
comments in CPA, Minutes of the Advisory Com- 
mission to the Council of National Defense 
(Washington, 1946), p. 19. 

4 For an excellent contemporary statement of 
the matter, see Memo, Col James H. Burns for 
ASW, 10 May 40, sub: Adequacy of Supply Pre- 
paredness, copy in OHF. 

5 Several other volumes in the series UNITED 
with these matters, among them being Watson, 
Chief of Staff, Smith, Army and Economic Mo- 
bilization, John D. Millett, The Organization and 
Role of the Army Service Forces (Washington, 
•954), an d Leigh ton and Coakley, Global Lo- 
gistics, 1940-1943. 

13 For a detailed analysis of the process as viewed 
by the Ordnance Department, see History of the 
Materiel Control Division, OCO, Dec 45; Manual 
of the Replacement Factor Branch, OCO, 1945; 
and PSP 55. All in OHF. For a description of the 
process as seen from the ASF level, see ASF Ann 
Rpt for FY 1943, ch. II; Ann Rpt ASF Rqmts 
Div, FY 1944; and Notes on Presentation of 
Rqmts Div before Proc Review Bd, ASF Contl 
Div file. 



Tables and Their Multiplication 

The most important document for re- 
quirements computation by the supply 
services was the Troop Basis, which speci- 
fied the strength of the Army and listed all 
units actually in existence or to be formed 
in the near future. 7 It was supplemented 
by tables prescribing the strength of each 
type of Army unit and listing the quan- 
tities of supplies authorized for each type. 
As there were some five thousand different 
kinds of units there were thousands of 
these tables, variously known as tables of 
organization, tables of allowances, tables 
of basic allowances, and tables of equip- 
ment. In addition, for units on special 
missions there were separate lists of equip- 
ment that applied either to individually 
numbered units or to all units in a given 
geographic area. 8 

The first step Ordnance took in comput- 
ing requirements was to multiply the 
quantity of each item of equipment author- 
ized for each type of unit by the number 
of such units in the Troop Basis. The 
number of rifles authorized for a rifle 
company, for example, was multiplied by 
the number of rifle companies, the trucks 
per infantry regiment by the number of 
infantry regiments, and so on until all 
items were accounted for. The computa- 
tions were all made by hand before the in- 
stallation of tabulating machines in the 
fall of 1940. 9 The figures thus determined 
represented initial allowances for units in 
the Troop Basis. The next step was to 
project these calculations into the future 
and provide additional equipment for re- 
placement of losses, for filling supply pipe- 
lines, for supplying certain items to the 
Navy and Marine Corps, and for foreign 
aid. The quantity added for replacement 
was calculated on the basis of a replace- 

ment factor (or maintenance factor, as it 
was sometimes called) established for each 
major item of equipment by the General 
Staff after study of recommendations sub- 
mitted by the arms and services. Expressed 
as a percentage of the initial issue, it 
represented an estimate of the quantity of 
materiel that would be needed during a 
given period of time to replace equipment 
lost, worn out, stolen, or destroyed by 
enemy action. 10 Finally, to arrive at net 
requirement figures, the quantity of each 
item already on hand, whether in storage, 
in transit, or in possession of troops, was 
subtracted from the total of gross require- 

7 For examples, see Table B of Notes on Pre- 
sentation . . . Proc Review Bd ; and Ltr, TAG 
to Chiefs of Arms and Services, 14 May 41, sub: 
Revision of Troop Unit Basis, FY 1942, with Incl, 
AG 320.2 (5-13-41) MC-C-M. 

8 AR 310-60 (1942) and Ann Rpt Rqmts Div, 
ASF, FY F944, ASF Req Div. Tables of Organiza- 
tion prescribed the organic structure and person- 
nel strength of Army units. Tables of Allowances 
covered all items of equipment normally re- 
quired for use at posts, camps, and stations which 
were not taken by units upon change of station. 
Tables of Basic Allowances prescribed the equip- 
ment for individuals and units other than training 
equipment or that issued to posts, camps, and 
stations. In October 1942, Tables of Basic Allow- 
ances were superseded by Tables of Equipment. 

9 For an intimate view of the process, see report 
of interview by Capt. Paul D. Olejar and others 
of personnel of the OCO Requirements Division, 
8 May 45, ex. 8, PSP 55, vol. 3. 

10 "Replacement factor" was defined in ASF 
Manual M412, The Supply Control System, 10 
April 1945, OHF, as follows: "The estimated per- 
centage of equipment in use that will need to be 
replaced each month. It includes losses due to 
wearing out beyond repair, capture, abandonment, 
pilferage, and all other causes except in-transit 
losses attributable to ship sinkings, losses of cer- 
tain items of clothing incident to the separation 
of personnel from the service, and losses from 
such other categories of attrition as may be spe- 
cifically expected from time to time." For World 
War II replacement factors, see War Dept Supply 
Bull 38-4-WD, Replacement Factors. . . 29 May 
47. Spare pa rts requirements are discussed in 

I Chapter XIU\ below. 



merits. The whole process was, in the 
words of a G—4 memo, "a very demand- 
ing, exacting and tedious task." 11 

Days of Supply and Replacement Factors 

The computation of ammunition re- 
quirements was altogether different from 
the computation of requirements for weap- 
ons, vehicles, and other general supplies, 
for ammunition was expendable. As food 
for guns it* ranked in importance with the 
supply of food for troops, and posed far 
more difficult requirements problems be- 
cause its rate of consumption was irregular 
and unpredictable. There were no tables 
showing the number of rounds to be issued 
to any tactical unit, but there was a figure 
known as the "day of supply" on which 
ammunition requirements for individual 
weapons were based. The ammunition day 
of supply was an estimate of the average 
number of rounds that would be ex- 
pended by each type of weapon per day in 
the course of planned operations. 12 The 
rate for each weapon included a break- 
down showing the estimate for each type 
of shell — high explosive, armor piercing, 
incendiary, and so on — and for each type 
of fuze when mor e than one type could be 
used on a shell. (Table 3) To compute 
ammunition requirements for a tactical 
unit the Ordnance planners multiplied the 
appropriate day of supply for each type of 
weapon by the number of such weapons 
authorized for the unit, and then multi- 
plied the total by the number of days for 
which supplies were to be provided. Like 
the replacement factor for general supplies, 
the ammunition day of supply was estab- 
lished by the General Staff on recommen- 
dations of the arms and services. For train- 
ing in the United States specified quan- 
tities per man were authorized. 13 

After the 19 18 armistice most of the 
statistical data and technical knowledge of 
requirements gained during the war were 
lost through disuse and through failure to 
study the records before marking them for 
destruction. Like many other elements of 
the War Department, Ordnance failed to 
provide Civil Service grades and salaries 
high enough to attract and keep technically 
qualified research employees. There were 
only five persons on the requirements staff 
during the interwar years, and the highest 
paid received an annual salary of about 
$2,300. It is doubtful that much progress 
could have been made under any circum- 
stances in peacetime, but the lack of an 
adequate nucleus of competent require- 
ments specialists insured failure. 14 

At the beginning of World War II, and 
for nearly two years thereafter, replace- 
ment factors for weapons and days of 
supply for ammunition were based largely 
on guesswork. No one knew how long the 
Army's equipment, much of it far different 
from that used in 191 7-18, would stand 
up under rigorous combat conditions, nor 
did anyone have an accurate notion of 
how much ammunition an infantry regi- 
ment or field artillery battalion would need 
in an active theater of operations. Virtually 
the only source of information on the sub- 

11 Memo, G-4 for GofS, 29 Nov 40, sub: Stabil- 
ization of Bases for . . . Rqmts, G—4/32277. 

12 The adoption and definition of this term are 
described in Lcr, TAG to CG AGF and others, 
16 Feb 43, sub: Ammunition Supply Policies, 
OO 471/1728, copy in OHF, See also Smith, 
Army and Economic Mobilization, ch. VI-VIII; 
and Rpt on Methods Used in the Ord Dept in 
Determining . . . Needs . . submitted to Mead 
Comm.. of U.S. Senate, Aug 46, copy in OHF 
(hereafter cited as Mead Comm. Rpt). Another 
source is Ann Rpt, ASF Rqmts Div, FY 1944. 

13 Folders marked Day of Supply in OCO 
Rqmts Br, FS Div files, and Rqmts Docs, in OHF. 

14 Hist of Materiel Contl Div, ch. I. 



Table 3 — Examples of Ground Ammunition Day of Supply for Theater of 

Operations, 23 December 1941 

Rds per 
per day 

Proportion of types 

Machine gun, .30-cal., M1917A1.-. 

Rifle, .30-cal., Ml 

Carbine, .30-cal., Ml 

Gun, submachine, .45-cal 

Gun, 37-mm. AT 

Gun, 40-mm. AA 

Gun, 75-mm. Tank 

Howitzer, 105-mm. field, SP mount 

Howitzer, 240-mm. field 


a 80% AP 
a 20% Tracer 


" 80% AP 

a 20% Tracer 


100% Ball 


80% Ball 

20% Tracer 


90% AP 

10% HE 


90% HE 

10% AP 


50% AP 

50% HE (Normal) 


80% HE 

10% WP 

10% HS 


100% HE 

a This proportion of types was approved in principle, but the old figures (65% Ball, 20% AP, and 15% Tracer) continued 
until production could be rescheduled. 

Sourer: Day of Supply of Ammunition other than Aircraft for Theater of Operations, 23 December 1941, copy in OHF. 

ject at the beginning of World War II was 
the Partridge Board Report made in 1938 
by a board of Ordnance officers headed by 
Lt. Col. Clarence E, Partridge. 18 Based in 
part on fragmentary records of World 
War I experience and in part on "educated 
guesses," it was concerned more with gen- 
eral principles than with exact statistical 
data. As late as March 1943 the Chief of 
Ordnance reported that "factors now in 
use are based largely on inadequate and 
obsolete data obtained from the last war, 
supplemented by opinion as to present 

needs. No current battle experience data 
are available." 16 

15 ( 1 ) Ord Day of Supply of Ammo. . ., 30 Nov 
38, AG 381.4 (1-25-39) Misc D; (2) Manual 
Replacement Factor Br, ch. 8; (3) WD Supply 
Bull 38-4-WD, Replacement Factors. . 29 May 
47. The other members of the Partridge board were 
Lt. Cols. Burton O. Lewis, Donald Armstrong, and 
Sidney P. Spalding. See also FM 101-10, Jun 41, 
as cited in Leighton and Coakley, Global Logis- 
tics, 1940-1943, p. 301, n. 21. 

"Memo, CofOrd for CG, ASF, 31 Mar 43, 
sub: Determination of Distribution and Maint 
Factors, OO 210.3/724, copy in OHF. 



The day of supply figures used in 1940 
and 1 94 1 had two principal defects: they 
were too high, and they did not allow for 
differences among theaters, Although Ord- 
nance was convinced that the figures were 
too high, and recommended their reduc- 
tion, there was no combat experience dur- 
ing the defense period to support the Ord- 
nance view. No change occurred until De- 
cember 1 94 1 when the day of supply for 
.30-caliber machine guns was cut nearly in 
half — from 250 to 150— and others were 
reduced in varying degrees. 17 

The second difficulty with the original 
figures, as just noted, was that a single set 
of rates was applied equally to all theaters 
of operation. In June 1943, after several 
theaters had been activated and some com- 
bat experience accumulated, Army Service 
Forces directed the supply services to be- 
gin systematic collection of data on which 
to base revisions of maintenance factors 
and days of supply. 18 During the North 
African campaign no provision had been 
made for systematic reporting of loss and 
expenditure rates. In July 1943 Ordnance 
sent teams of officers schooled in require- 
ments work to headquarters in England, 
Algeria, Egypt, India, New Caledonia, and 
Australia. The teams met with varying de- 
grees of success, but in general their work 
was hampered by a lack of appreciation 
in the theaters of the far-reaching impor- 
tance of accurate replacement factors. The 
theater Ordnance officers, under constant 
pressure to provide adequate supplies at 
all times, were far more interested in main- 
taining an ample supply of everything than 
in providing data for refined statistical 
computations by planners back in Wash- 
ington. This gave rise to one of the most 
persistent supply problems of the war, the 
tendency of each echelon to hoard supplies 
and build up its own reserve. The require- 

ments teams also found that theater records 
did not provide adequate data on quanti- 
ties of equipment in the hands of troops, 
and contained practically nothing on quan- 
tities lost. Theater officers insisted that 
data for determining replacement factors 
were more readily obtainable at ports of 
embarkation than overseas. "Officers in 
this theater," wrote a member of the team 
sent to North Africa, "are of the firm be- 
lief that our mission is a wild goose chase 
and utterly futile. . . ." 19 

In spite of these difficulties, the teams 
made some progress. Their reports showed 
that different rates were required for the 
various theaters because weapons and 
types of ammunition varied in importance 
from theater to theater. Beginning in Feb- 
ruary 1944 the War Department required 
each theater to submit detailed information 
in a regular monthly report of materiel 
consumed, and in June it established sepa- 
rate days of supply for the ZI and for 

17 (1 ) Day of Supply of Ammo Other than Air- 
craft for Theater of Operations, 23 Dec 41, Rqmts 
Docs, OHF; (2) Hist of Matenel Contl Div, 
OCO, ch. 4; (3) Mtg of the Ord Bd on Spare 
Parts, 27 Nov 41, copy in OHF. See also corres- 
pondence on day of supply in Sep-Oct 43 in 
collection of requirements documents, OHF, and 
Day of Supply correspondence in G-4/20052-67, 

18 (1) Notes on Presentation . . . Proc Review 
Bd , P. 33; (s) Ltr, SW for CG's Overseas Com- 
mands, 24 Jun 43, sub: Determination of Maint 
Factors. . . , AG 400 (21 Jun 43) OB-S- 
SPOPP-M; (3) Rpt of Richards Comm. in Levels 
of Supply and Supply Procedures, 1 Jan 44, copy 
in OCMH; (4) WD Supply Bull 38-4-WD, op. 
c it > (5) Manual Determination and Use of Maint 
Factors and Distribution, ASF, Jul 43; (6) 
Memo, Col John J. Binns, Director Ping Div, for 
Director of Plans and Opns, ASF, 20 Nov 43, 
sub: Study of Ammo Rqmts, ASF Ping Div, 
Theater Br file 471 Ammo, vol. I, Box 389, NA. 

16 (i) Manual Replacement Factor Br; (2) 
PSP 55, pp. 1 15-18; (3) Memo, Deputy TIG to 
Deputy CofS, 21 Jun 44, sub: Memo, 1 Jan 
1944. . in WD Spec 334, vol. 2, G-4. 



three major overseas areas — Europe, North 
Africa, and the Pacific. 20 Differences 
among theaters were substantial. In the 
South Pacific, for example, the replace- 
ment rates for bayonets, trench knives, 
and carbines were from ten to thirty times 
as great as in North Africa. In the summer 
of 1944 the number of items covered by 
replacement factors was sharply reduced, 
and a new set of replacement factors sub- 
mitted to ASF headquarters was approved 
with minor changes. 21 But replacement 
factors were seldom constant for long 
periods of time in any active theater, since 
they varied with the intensity of the fight- 
ing, the nature of enemy tactics, the 
method of reporting losses, and even with 
changes in the weather. 

In addition to replacement factors and 
days of supply the Partridge Board Report 
had pointed out in 1938 that two other 
elements entered into the distribution of 
supplies. First was the time required to 
ship materiel from the point of origin to 
the point of use, and second was the 
quantity of supplies absorbed within the 
system itself, chiefly in the form of depot 
stocks. The Partridge Board recommended 
that the first of these elements be covered 
by advancing delivery dates by the num- 
ber of days required for the shipment of 
supplies to any given troop units. It recom- 
mended that distribution stocks be pro- 
vided by increasing the total requirements 
by a certain percentage to be known as the 
distribution factor. Exactly what percent- 
age should be allotted for distribution was, 
of course, a question the Partridge Board 
could not answer because of the paucity of 
experience data. 22 

Aviation Ordnance 

Guns and ammunition for war planes 
formed another distinct phase of the re- 

quirements picture. In 1940 the method 
used for calculating aviation ordnance re- 
quirements was the same as that used for 
ground ordnance, but in 1 94 1 a new 
system was worked out by the Ordnance 
Requirements Division. The new method 
made no attempt to multiply tables of 
equipment or allowances by the number of 
units to be supplied, but based require- 
ments on airplane production schedules 
compiled by the Office of Production 
Management and later by WPB. The num- 
ber of guns per plane, taken from arma- 
ment charts prepared by the Air Techni- 
cal Service Command, was multiplied by 
the number of planes to be produced. To 
this total was added what the Air Force 
felt was a sufficient quantity to provide 
replacements for these weapons. 23 Al- 
though considered at the time to be a 
radical departure from traditional require- 
ments practice, the new system proved 
successful and continued in effect without 
change until the summer of 1944 when it 
was modified to provide ammunition and 
bombs only for planes in active theaters. 
The Army Air Forces had meanwhile col- 
lected sufficient experience data from its 
units overseas to provide a statistical basis 
for more refined techniques of require- 
ments determination and supply control. 
Mission rates for each theater were de- 
veloped for each type of squadron in much 

20 Copies are in folders marked Day of Supply 
in OCO Rqmts Br, FS Div files. See also corres- 
pondence on the subject in AG 471; Ord Comm. 
Min 24343, 6 Jul 44; and Ann Rpt ASF Rqmts 
Div FY 1944. 

21 (1) Mead Comm. Rpt, pp. 15-16; (2) 
Frank, op. cit., p. 127. 

32 Hist, Materiel Contl Div, ch. 8. 

' 2S Hist, Materiel Contl D'v, ch. 6. For a more 
detailed statement, see Ltr CG AAF for CG SOS, 
8 Jan 43, sub: Basis for Computation. . . , copy 
in Frank, op. cit., vol. 3, ex. 76. 



the same manner as were days of supply for 
ground ammunition. In the European the- 
ater seasonal rates were used because 
of lessened air activity during winter 
months. 24 

The early requirements for bombs and 
aircraft ammunition called for production 
of a 5-month supply for each bomber, 
based on aircraft production schedules, the 
estimated number of sorties a month for 
each plane, and the number of bombs 
dropped and rounds fired per sortie. The 
bomb supply for 4-engine bombers, for 
example, was based on an estimated e'ght 
missions per month over a period of five 
months. These computations soon resulted 
in overproduction of bombs and aircraft 
ammunition, largely because all planes did 
not go immediately from factory to over- 
seas theater, nor did they all engage in 
bombing raids exactly as planned. "We 
now have in storage in the United King- 
dom," reported the McCoy Board in Au- 
gust 1943, "a greater tonnage of bombs 
than has been dropped over Europe by the 
RAF since the beginning of the war." 25 
Deep cuts in bomb requirements came in 
1943, cuts that soon proved to be too deep. 
As the air war mounted in intensity dur- 
ing 1944 many of the cuts had to be 
restored. 26 

Fluctuating Requirements 

It is no exaggeration to say that the 
worst problem facing Ordnance produc- 
tion planners during World War II 
stemmed from the fact that requirements 
were always changing. As soon as one set 
of figures came out of the machines it was 
necessary to incorporate changes in one or 
more of the basic lists and make the com- 
putations all over again. 27 The figures in 

the over-all Troop Basis rose and fell every 
few months as the strategic situation 
worsened or improved, and as the War 
Department planners estimated and re- 
estimated military needs in terms of the 
capacity of the nation to support forces of 
varying sizes. 28 

The situation was further complicated 
by the fact that the Ordnance Require- 
ments Division always had to work with 
two different versions of the Troop Basis, 
one coming from G— 3 and the other from 
G— 4. Ordnance normally prepared its al- 
lowance figures on the basis of the former 
and its requirements on the latter. The two 
versions of the Troop Basis were not iden- 
tical and were often not even reconcilable, 
at times being as much as half a million 
men apart on specific dates. As late as the 
spring of 1944 Ordnance complained, 
"The essence of the problem is that the 
troop basis furnished is not synchronized 
with the factual situation as to activation 
and deployment of troops. . . ," 29 Anoth- 
er difficulty arose in correctly identifying 
the units included in the Troop Basis. 
When units appeared without adequate 
identifying information it was impossible 

24 (1) Hist, Materiel Contl Div, ch. 6; (a) Ord 
Rpt to Mead Comm., 12 Aug 46, OO 400.12/- 
2311 and copy in OHF. 

25 (1) Rpt WD Proc Review Bd, 31 Aug 43, p. 
50, ASF 334, 020 CofS U.S. Army. Copy also in 
Levels of Supply and Supply Procedure, i Jan 
44, OCMH file; (a) Rpt WD Spec Comm. for 
Re-study of Reserves, 13 Nov 43, p. 48, 

29 (1) Ann Rpt ASF Rqmts Div FY 1944, pp. 
17-18; (2) Dr. Ralph Ilsley, The /Facilities Pro- 
gram of the Ammunition Division, Oct 44, vol. 2, 
pp. 160-63, OHF. 

27 Memo, G-4 for CofS, 17 Dec 40, sub: Stabil- 
ization of . . . Rqmts, (5-4/32377, copy in OHF. 

28 Memo, G-4 for CofS, 29 Nov 40, sub: Stabil- 
ization of Bases for . . . RqnJtT, C-4/32277. See 
also McMullen, op. ext., pp. 646-47. 

29 PSP 55, p. 142, arid ex. 9 in vol. 3, Docs. 



to know which equipment table applied to 
them. 30 

Of nearly equal importance with fluctu- 
ations in the Troop Basis were the constant 
revisions of tables of equipment. During 
the latter part of 1940, in addition to 
changes resulting from expansion of the 
air arm, creation of an armored force, and 
the transition from square to triangular 
infantry divisions, there were innumerable 
changes in allowances of equipment for 
both individuals and units. 31 In the early 
stages of the war when planners were con- 
sidering the possibility of air raids on the 
United States and on American bases and 
troop units overseas, large numbers of an- 
tiaircraft units were scheduled for activa- 
tion, and requirements for antiaircraft 
guns and accessories were high. The open 
type of warfare encountered in North 
Africa late in 1942 demanded that tanks 
and antitank guns be given first priority, 
and later still the demands for heavy ar- 
tillery topped the list when American 
troops came up against heavily fortified 
positions in Italy and France. Each change, 
however small, demanded a revision of to- 
tal requirements figures, and every major 
change in requirements meant a revision of 
production schedules. 

The nature of the equipment changes 
that occurred between 1940 and 1945 may 
be illustrated by the single example of the 
infantry regiment. In 1940 an infantry 
regiment numbered 3,449 men, but in 
1942 it had only 3,088, and in 1943, 3,257. 
It was authorized 1,181 pistols in 1940, 
213 in 1941, 233 in 1942, 275 in 1943, and 
293 in 1944. It had no 1/4-ton trucks in 
1940 but was authorized 103 in 1941, 68 
in 1942, 146 in 1943, and 149 in 1944. Of 
the basic weapon, the Mi rifle, it had 
2,099 m '94°) i>6oo in 1941, 1,678 in 
1942, and 1,882 in 1943, 1944, and 1945. 

These were by no means all the changes in 
the equipment of the infantry regiment 
during World War II, but they serve to 
illustrate the frequency and extent of the 
revisions of equipment tables. In terms of 
individual units the changes were often 
small, but, when multipled many times 
over and added to those of other organiza- 
tions, the cumulative effect on total re- 
quirements figures was anything but small. 
Yet it should not be suggested that nothing 
was static. The number of .30-caliber ma- 
chine guns (Mi 917) in an infantry regi- 
ment remained at 24 year after year. 
Throughout the war there were always 
twenty-seven 60-ram. mortars and eighteen 
81 -mm. mortars per regiment of infantry. 
The number of BAR's dropped from 189 
to 81 between 1941 and 1942 but there- 
after held steady. 32 

Changes in plans for armored divisions 
had greater impact on Ordnance than did 
changes in infantry divisions, for equipment 
of armored units required far more in- 
dustrial effort than did equipment of 
infantry units of the same size. A measure 
of the gradual decline in Ordnance require- 
ments is found in the number of armored 
divisions scheduled for activation. In early 
1942, estimates went as high as 46; the 

80 Ibid. See also lecture, Lt Gen LeRoy Lutes, 
the ASP, 23 Sep 46, ICAF, and Marvin A. Kreid- 
berg and Lt. Merton G. Henry, Military Mobiliza- 
tion in the U.S. Army, 1775-1945, Dept of the 
Army Pamphlet No. 20-212 (Washington, 1955), 
ch. XVIII. 

31 (1) Memo of Lt Col Walter A. Wood, Jr., 
quoted in Frank, op. cit., p. 10; (2) Memo, G—4 
for CofS, 17 Dec 40, sub: Stabilization of . . . 
Rqmts, G-4/32S77; (3) Memo, ACofS, G—4 for 
CofOrd, 6 Sep 40, sub: Rqmts for Combat Ve- 
hicles, with Incls, G—4/29365-71, copy in PSP 
55, ex. 6. 

32 <i) Mead Comm. Rpt, pp. 14-15; (2) PSP 
55, vol. 3, Docs, ex. 9. The latter contains a table 
of major items of infantry regiment equipment, 
year by year, 1940-45 inclusive. 



Troop Basis of November 1942 called, for 
only 20; the following summer the figure 
was down to 16, the number actually 
formed. 33 Tank requirements, set at 169,- 
000 in early 1942, were scaled down to 
half that number before the war ended. 

Ordnance officers fully realized the need 
for timely revision of the Troop Basis and 
reorganization of tactical units. They rec- 
ognized that sudden shifts in the world- 
wide strategic situation sometimes neces- 
sitated drastic revision of supply require- 
ments. They knew that losses through 
ship sinkings had to be taken into account, 
that plans for sending troops and supplies 
overseas had to be geared to available 
shipping space, and that combat experi- 
ence frequently demanded changes in types 
or quantities of equipment. But they never- 
theless felt that General Staff planners, not 
fully aware of the consequences of changes 
in supply requirements, sometimes ordered 
such changes without full consideration of 
their effects. They felt, rightly or wrongly, 
that ASF and staff planners did not realize 
that every modification in the tables of 
equipment meant elaborate recomputa- 
tions of requirements and also, much more 
important, far-reaching revisions of pro- 
duction and distribution schedules. They 
became convinced that staff planners did 
not realize the need for supplying data 
well in advance to allow a long lead time 
for Ordnance production. 34 

Over and above all this was an intangi- 
ble but nonetheless real psychological fac- 
tor that caused requirements planners to 
adopt a bullish attitude when the war news 
was good and to turn bearish when it was 
bad. Requirements were not always deter- 
mined in the light of pure reason. Some- 
times, Ordnance requirements specialists 
testified, an entire computation would be 
thrown out and a new one demanded 

because the results "were not in accord 
with the 'feeling' of those who had initially 
established the method for the first compu- 
tation." 35 There was also the practical 
matter of how much could be produced. 
Theoretically, requirements were always 
fully stated regardless of the potentialities 
of supply but in fact there were ways and 
means of reducing requirements that 
seemed unattainable. 36 

The truth of the matter seems to be that 
the General Staff and ASF planners were 
well aware of the need for firm long-range 
requirements even though they were not 
always fully aware of the details of Ord- 
nance operations. They tried hard to keep 
requirements on an even keel, and it was 
not ignorance of procurement but the 
exigencies of war that forced th^m to revise 
the Army Supply Program. 37 "The con- 
clusion is inescapable," wrote Brig. Gen. 
Walter A. Wood, Jr., in 1943, "that such 
a program cannot be static ... it re- 
requires constant review . . . continuing 
study, and never-ending adjustment." 38 

33 Kent Roberts Greenfield, Robert R. Palmer, 
and Bell I. Wiley, The Army Ground Forces: Or- 
ganization of Ground Combat Troops UNITED 
ington, 1947), p. 161. 

34 (1) Lutes, Lecture, The ASP; (2) Intervs 
with many Ord officers. 

35 Hist, Materiel Contl Div, ch. 10. 
s<l Ibid., ch. 1. 

37 See, for examples, Memo, G-4 for CofS, 29 
Nov 40, sub: Stabilization of . . . Rqmts (with 
G-3 concurrence), G-432277; comments by Gen 
Somervell in Review of Prod Plans of Ammo Div, 
ig Jun 42, p. 6, T652-C; and Memo, CG ASF 
for Tech Services, 15 Jun 43, sub: Computation 
of Rqmts. . . . SPRML 400, copy in folder 
marked Dirs, Basic Data for . . . ASP, in OCO 
Rqmts Br, FS Div files. 

38 Notes on Presentation . . . Proc Review Bd, 
op. cit., p. 9. See also Background of the Army 
Supply Program, an ASF document apparently 
written by Brig. Gen. Walter A. Wood, Jr., no 
date, pp. 3-4, copy in OHF, and Leigh ton and 
Coakley, Global Logistics, 1Q40-1Q4.3, p. 302. 



Requirements in the Defense Period, 

Multiplication of a given Troop Basis 
by the proper equipment tables, and sub- 
traction of stocks on hand, yielded a theor- 
etical statement of Army requirements, but 
for procurement purposes, particularly in 
1940-41, everything depended upon the 
availability of money. In the uncertain 
period before Pearl Harbor, and immedi- 
ately after, requirements were computed 
for scores of different theoretical situations, 
but the only results that counted for 
Ordnance were those covered by appropri- 
ations and embodied in an Expenditure 
Program approved by G-4. Enactment of 
an appropriation bill, it should be noted, 
did not automatically give the supply serv- 
ices a green light for procurement. Only 
after an item of equipment appeared on an 
Expenditure Program did the supply serv- 
ices have authority to proceed with its 
procurement. 38 

All told, ten Expenditure Programs were 
issued between July 1940 and July 1942, 
each based on an appropriation measure. 
The Ordnance share of the funds in each 
varied from $38 million to more than $12 
billion. When added together the 10 pro- 
grams allotted to Ordnance approximated 
$31 billion, or three-fourths of all funds 
appropriated for Ordnance during the 
1940-45 period. 40 (Table 4) 

Before issuance ol the hrst Expenditure 
Program, Ordnance made a series of com- 
putations leading up to the regular appro- 
priation for the fiscal year 1941. Work on 
this subject began with a request from 
the War Department Budget Officer in 
September 1939, after the invasion of Po- 
land, that Ordnance list the items it would 
include in a $250 million program to elim- 
inate shortages of critical items for the 

PMP.* 1 Ordnance quickly complied with 
this request and with others that came 
during succeeding months, including such 
questions as the following: What addi- 
tional ordnance would be required for a 
17,000-man increase in the Regular Army 
and a 500-plane increase in the Air Corps? 
What items would be short if a 600,000- 
man Army, plus PMP augmentation, were 
to be equipped? What would be needed 
at each stage during the Regular Army's 
expansion in enlisted strength from 173,000 
to 242,000, to 280,000, to 375,000? All 
these calculations, combined with those 
from other supply services, were used in 
drawing up the Army appropriation for 
fiscal year 1941 and the first supplemental, 
totaling approximately $500 million for 
Ordnance. This program was widely 
known as the first Expenditure Program 
until it was officially decided that the 12 
August 1940 statement of requirements 
for the Munitions Program of 30 June 

1940 would be considered the first such 
program. 42 

Even before it was passed, the regular 

1941 appropriation was known to be in- 
adequate to meet the Army's needs in 
view of the swift German victories in 
Europe during May and June 1940, and 
the transfer to the hard-pressed British of 

39 For a late example, see Equipment Expendi- 
ture Program . . . FY 1943, 30 Jun 42, copy in 
OCO-Detroit file. 

40 For discussion of prewar finances, see Green, 
Tho mson, and Roo ts, Planning Munitions for 
War, IChapter 111, | and Smith, Army and Eco- 
nomic Mobilization. [Wood], Background of the 
ASP, briefly covers the whole period from 1920 to 
World War II. 

41 Memo of WD Budget Officer for CofOrd, 6 
Sep 39, sub: Supplemental Estimates. . . , copy 
in PSP 55, ex. a. 

42 For detailed listing of items, see Fig. 4, p. 59, 
PSP 55. See also [Wood], Background of the 
ASP, pp. 10-11, and Frank, op. cit. 


Table 4 — Summary Tabulation of Ordnance Share of Expenditure Programs 

Expenditure Program 


Expended for Ordnance 


12 Aug 40 
8 Oct 40 

8 Apr 41 

9 Jun 41 
25 Aug 41 
12 Dec 41 
31 Dec 41 
21 Feb 42 
16 Apr 42 
30 Jun 42 

32 billion 
338 million 
3725 million 
3220 million 
32.7 billion 
33.7 billion 
31.5 billion 
312.4 billion 
3409 million 
37.4 billion 

South: PSP Si, pp. 65-88. 

615,000 Enfield rifles, 25,000 BAR's, and 
other supplies after Dunkerque, 43 At the 
direction of the President the Army hastily 
drew up in June 1940 a new statement of 
broad military requirements. 44 The bulk of 
this program, known as the Munitions Pro- 
gram of 30 June 1940, was financed by the 
second supplemental appropriation, which 
allotted $1,442,000,000 for Ordnance. As 
noted in the preceding chapter, the first 
Expenditure Program issued by G— 4 on 12 
August 1940 gave Ordnance authority to 
proceed with procurement under this and 
the two preceding appropriations. 48 The 
authority came at a dark hour for the 
western democracies. With France con- 
quered, the British army driven from the 
continent after losing all its heavy equip- 
ment, and the German air force opening 
its assault on England itself, there were 
some who felt that further resistance by 

the British was useless. For the United 
States the need to strengthen its defenses 
was clear, but there was still doubt as to 
how that need should be met. 

The second Expenditure Program was a 
relatively minor one, totaling only $38 
million. Drawn up in September — while 
plans were being made to inaugurate 
peacetime conscription — it provided essen- 
tial items for an additional 200,000 men to 
bring the PMP force up to 1 ,400,000. The 

43 See Green, Thomson, and Roots, Planning 
Munitions for War Jch. III. I 

44 Munitions Program of 30 June 1940, dr G43 
ASF Contl Div. The contribution of an Ordnance 
officer. Col. (later Maj. Gen.) James H. Burns, 
executive officer to the Assistant Secretary of War, 
to this and later programs is described in Watson, 
Chief of Staff, Pages 172-82, and Smith, Army 
and Economic Mobilization, Chapter VII. 

4 5 On the importance of this program see Smith, 
Army and Economic Mobilization, Chapter VI. 



third Expenditure Program appeared in 
April 1 94 1, just after enactment of lend- 
lease, and provided $725 million for Ord- 
nance, mostly for artillery ammunition. 
The fourth covered Air Force and Field 
Artillery requirements financed by the 
regular fiscal 1942 appropriation. By far 
the largest of the pre-Pearl Harbor pro- 
grams was the fifth, dated 25 August 
ig4i; it placed major emphasis on am- 
munition and combat vehicles and was 
based on an Army strength of 1,820,000 
to be raised eventually to 3,20o,ooo. 48 

By the time the fifth Expenditure Pro- 
gram appeared, Ordnance had been al- 
lotted over $6 billion and its procurement 
program was well under way. But mean- 
while the whole defense effort came in for 
a good deal of criticism, some bearing 
directly on the problem of Ordnance re- 
quirements. Early in September 1941, for 
example, Ordnance was criticized because 
the bulk of its production was not sched- 
uled for completion before 30 June 1943 
and some items such as antiaircraft guns 
and armor-piercing ammunition would run 
well into fiscal year 1944. There was 
complaint that Ordnance was giving new 
orders to the few firms already holding 
contracts and was thus not broadening 
the base for procurement but was "ex- 
tending a relatively narrow stream of pro- 
duction farther and farther into the fu- 
ture." The report making this charge stated 
further that, in spite of multibillion-dollar 
appropriations, existing production sched- 
ules for many items would fall far short of 
meeting either British or United States 
requirements by June 1942. "The lag of 
production behind requirements is gen- 
eral," the report concluded, "and is not 
the result of specific items being produced 
at the expense of other items. Increased 
total output in all areas is essential." 47 

In commenting on this report General 
Harris, acting Chief of Ordnance, pointed 
to many discrepancies in it, particularly as 
they concerned plans and appropriations. 
He declared that the report took con- 
templated programs not yet submitted to 
Congress — much less enacted into law — 
and added them to approved requirements 
in order to make production schedules, 
which were based only on approved re- 
quirements, appear inadequate. Defending 
the award of new contracts to established 
producers, General Harris argued that the 
creation of new production capacity was a 
long and costly process that was not en- 
couraged by the receipt of requirements 
"in small successive increments." The 
source of most of the difficulties encoun- 
tered in scheduling Ordnance production, 
the general declared, was the problem of 
requirements, and on this subject he clearly 
stated the Ordnance position in words that 
bear quotation at some length. 

There has not been since the beginning of 
the Defense Program a comprehensive long- 
range Schedule of Ordnance Requirements 
which would permit planning for adequate 
production capacity. On the contrary, the 
program has been changed at least seven 
times in the last fifteen months for most 
items. ... It is impracticable to create pro- 
duction capacity without definite orders, es- 
pecially if extensive subcontracting is to be 
used in accordance with existing instructions 
of the War Department. Defense Aid orders 
have been even more varied, repetitive, un- 
predictable, and apparently unstudied than 
the United States orders, and action in fill- 
ing the orders has been correspondingly 
difficult and unsatisfactory. 

The Ordnance Department believes strong- 
ly that a carefully studied, long-range pro- 

46 The directive initiating this program appears 
as exhibit 1 1 in Frank, op. cit. 

47 Mil Rqmts and Materiel Prod, Incl 1 to 
Memo of Maj Gen Harris, Actg CofOrd, for USW, 
9 Sep 41, OO 400. 1 2/5853-1/2. 



gram of munitions requirements for the 
democracies should be determined as soon as 
possible and thereafter adhered to with a 
minimum of change. ... It will then, and not 
until then, be possible for the Ordnance De- 
partment, as well as the other supply arms 
and services of the War Department, to pro- 
ceed with assurance that planned production 
will satisfactorily meet requirements. 48 

While General Harris was thus appeal- 
ing for a sound and comprehensive state- 
ment of requirements, others in the War 
Department recognized that a new ap- 
proach to the problem was needed. 49 It 
was obvious that the Expenditure Programs 
were not altogether satisfactory documents 
for stating procurement objectives. Because 
they were primarily fiscal rather than sup- 
ply documents they did not list supplies 
needed by the armed forces for long-range 
planning but only supplies to be bought 
with money appropriated for a given fiscal 
year. Being short-range projections, they 
kept procurement on something of a hand- 
to-mouth basis. Further, they omitted im- 
portant categories such as Army-type ma- 
teriel procured for the Navy, and they did 
not establish any definite time periods for 
delivery of new materiel, though the sepa- 
rate documents known as Time Objectives 
were issued, to fill this latter gap. All things 
considered, the Expenditure Programs 
were inadequate as bases for accurate pro- 
duction scheduling and for determining the 
need for raw materials and industrial fa- 
cilities. "During 1941 . . ." wrote the 
chief of the Ordnance Branch of WPB, 
"procurement officers, and others, re- 
quested and failed to get any answers to 
the three basic questions of — What? How 
many? When?" 50 After Pearl Harbor, 
when the critical factor in military plan- 
ning was no longer money but time, the 
Army Supply Program (ASP) was de- 
veloped to replace the Expenditure Pro- 

gram as the basic document for stating 
requirements and procurement objectives. 
The transition was not made immediately 
but extended over the first half of 1942. 
More than any other individual, Lt. Gen. 
Brehon B. Somervell, as G-4 and later as 
head of Services of Supply, was responsible 
for its introduction. 51 

Many civilian critics of the War Depart- 
ment have declared that in the pre-Pearl 
Harbor years the Army, conservative by 
nature and suffering from two decades of 
penny-pinching, could not change over- 
night to meet the challenge of a new day. 52 
Military planners set their sights too low, 
according to the War Production Board 
history, and it was left to the more realistic 
and aggressive members of the civilian 
agencies to push for adequate defense pro- 
duction. These charges are not fully borne 
out by the official record. There undoubt- 

48 Incl No. a to Memo of Maj Gen Harris, for 
USW, 9 Sep 41, sub: Comments on Study En- 
titled Mil Rqmts and Materiel Prod, OO 400.12/ 
5853-1/2 and OHF. For similar comments from 
the WPB level, see CPA, Industrial Mobilization 
for War, page 13. 

46 See Min of conf on the ASP in Somervell's 
office, 29 Jan 42, copy in folder marked Rqmts 
Div 1943, ASF. For an excellent brief summary 
of Somervell's views, see his Memo for Maj. Gen. 
Richard C. Moore, Deputy CofS, 22 Jan 42, sub: 
Army Supply Program, ASF, Rqmts Div ig43» 
copy in Frank, op. cit.jvol. 2, ex. 21. 

50 Summary Rpt, Ord Br, WPB, OHF. See also 
Maj. Paul D. Olejar, Ordnance Requirements and 
the Control of Production, 1939-45, Project 
Papers, 6, 7, and 12, dtd Aug 45, OHF. 

51 (1) Lecture, Lutes, The ASP; (2) Frank, op. 
cit., p. 15; (3) Summary Rpt, Ord Br, WPB; (4) 
Memo, Col Clinton F. Robinson for Brig Gen Wil- 
helm D. Styer, 16 Jul 42, sub: Equipment Expen- 
diture Program, ASF fofder marked Rqmts Div 
1943. The delicate political situation facing the 
administration in 1940, and the tense interna- 
tional scene, accounted in part for the lack of a 
more forthright approach to the requirements 

63 CPA, Industrial Mobilization for War, and 
Sherman, The Formulation of Mil Rqmts. 



edly was some timidity and hesitation in 
the War Department in 1938-39, but not 
in later years. The Munitions Program of 
30 June 1940, for example, developed by 
the Army under the leadership of Assistant 
Secretary of War Louis Johnson, was both 
big and bold. Its original totals were scaled 
down, not by shortsighted generals but by 
President Roosevelt, who feared Congress 
would not accept such huge expenditures 
for military purposes. Earlier proposals by 
G-4 and General Marshall had called for 
speedy and substantial increases in national 
defense expenditures, but they too had 
failed to win full approval. The only quali- 
fying element in the picture is the delay 
inherent in drafting requirements and for- 
warding them through the proper channels 
to Congress, with the result that expansion 
plans drawn up in mid- 1939 before the 
European war broke out were obsolete 
when they reached Congress a year later. 
But that the Army set its sights too low and 
had to be prodded into preparedness by 
the civilian agencies hastily organized in 
1 940 is a myth. 53 

Strongest pressure for raising require- 
ments sights came from the British, espe- 
cially from Lord Beaverbrook and Prime 
Minister Churchill, who came to Washing- 
ton shortly after Pearl Harbor. Depending 
upon American aid for Britain's survival, 
they urged astronomical figures that soon 
proved to be entirely unrealistic. Their 
pleas were directed just as much toward 
civilian production men such as Donald 
Nelson as to military leaders. 54 The net 
effect of British urging was the adoption of 
altogether unrealistic goals. 

The Army Supply Program, 1^42-44 

As early as July 1941, shortly after Ger- 
many invaded Russia, President Roosevelt 

had directed the armed services to draw up 
a long-range statement o f requirements 
such as General Harris had in mind. "I 
wish you would explore the munitions and 
mechanical equipment of all types which 
in your opinion would be required to ex- 
ceed by an appropriate amount that avail- 
able to our enemies." 55 The evolution of 
the resulting Victory Program during 1941 
and early 1942 has been described else- 
where and need not be repeated in detail 
here, but a brief sketch of some of the steps 
in its development will help to provide 
essential background for the Ordnance 
phase of the Army Supply Program. 66 

Assuming that victory over all potential 
enemies might require the maximum num- 
ber of troops the nation could provide, the 
War Plans Division of the General Staff 
drafted a troop basis in August 1 94 1 call- 
ing for mobilization^ within two years of 
nearly 9 million men, organized into 215 
divisions, of which 61 were to be armored. 
This was more than double the maximum 
force of 4 million men that had been a 
factor in earlier plans, and, in terms of 
divisions, was more than twice the number 
actually organized during World War II. 
In terms of manpower this troop basis 
proved a remarkably accurate forecast, but 
in terms of divisions equipped and put into 
the field, it was very wide of the mark. 57 

While computation of materiel require- 

53 See Watson, Chief of Staff, Chapter VI, for 
discussion of Army requests for funds in 1939-40. 

D4 CPA, Industrial Mobilization for War, pt. 
Ill, ch. 4. 

55 Ltr, President to SW, 9 Jul 41, copy in OHF. 

5S (1) Frank, op. cit., pp. 15-22; (2) Watson, 
Chief of Staff, ch. XI; (3) Smith, Army and 
Economic Mobilization, ch. VI; (4) [Wood], 
Background of the ASP. 

51 ( 1 ) Leighton and Coakley, Global Logistics, 
1940-1Q43, ch. V; (2) Watson, Chief of Staff, 
ch. XI; (3) Memo, G-4 for CofOrd, 26 Aug 41, 
sub: Spec Computation. . . , OO 475/1064. 



ments for a force of this size was in progress 
the President requested that additional 
calculations be made of munitions to be 
supplied Great Britain, the Soviet Union, 
and other countries at war with the Axis. 
The completed estimates for all these pur- 
poses were quickly assembled and given 
limited distribution in September, but no 
steps were taken to implement the program 
as it was to be held in reserve for an 
emergency. On 7 December 1941 the emer- 
gency arrived. 

For Army planners the weeks following 
the attack on Pearl Harbor may fairly be 
described as hectic. The sixth Expenditure 
Program, published on 12 December 1941, 
was larger than any of its predecessors. 
Computed on a Troop Basis of 2 million 
men, with proposed augmentation to 3.7 
million, it provided more than $3 billion 
for Ordnance materiel. But it was obvi- 
ously inadequate in view of the entrance of 
the United States into the war against 
Japan, Germany, and Italy, and attention 
was quickly turned to implementing the 
Victory Program. 58 While the War De- 
partment planning agencies were working 
feverishly on the details of the program, 
and adjusting their calculations to the 
actuality of war with specific enemies, 
President Roosevelt dropped a bombshell 
in their midst on 3 January 1942. In a 
letter to the Secretary of War he wrote: 

The victory over our enemies will be 
achieved in the last analysis not only by the 
bravery, skill, and determination of our men, 
but by our overwhelming mastery in the 
munitions of war. 

The concept of our industrial capacity 
must be completely overhauled under the im- 
pulse of the peril to our nation. 

Our associates amongst the united nations 
are already extended to the utmost in the 
manufacture of munitions, and their factor- 
ies fall far short of the needs of their own 

armies. We must not only provide munitions 
for our own fighting forces but vast quanti- 
ties to be used against the enemy in every 
appropriate theater of war, wherever that 
may be. 

The President then proceeded to name 
five types of equipment — four of them 
Ordnance responsibilities — and to list spe- 
cific quantities to be procured during the 
two calendar years ahead. \{Table For 
ammunition the President stated that he 
wanted production to be based on the 
assumption that these weapons were to be 
used in combat. 69 

The President's letter to the Secretary of 
War, and his address to Congress three 
days later, constituted a striking example 
of lack of co-ordination between the White 
House and the Army staff. The President 
apparently drew up his plans in consulta- 
tion with a few close advisers and with the 
British delegation that had come to Wash- 
ington soon after Pearl Harbor, but with- 
out consulting his own generals. Reaction 
in Ordnance to these goals was not 
favorable, for they were regarded as un- 
balanced and in some cases unattainable. 
But there could be no outspoken criticism 
of the decision of the Commander in Chief. 

The War Department issued its hurried 
calculation of requirements for the Victory 
Program on 1 1 February 1 942 as the Over- 
all Requirements for the War Munitions 
Program. 80 This new statement provided 

58 By way of illustration, see Memo, SW for the 
President, a6 Dec 41, sub: Victory Program, copy 
in Frank, op. cit., II, ex. 18. 

09 Memo of President to SW, 3 Jan 42, AG 
452.1 (1-3-43) (1), copy in PSP 55, ex. 19. The 
President made a dramatic public announcement 
of these objectives in his State of the Union mes- 
sage to Congress on 6 January. For discussion of 
their origin, see CPA, Industrial Mobilization for 
War, Part III, Chapter 4. 

«°Copy in OCO-Detroit files. For a brief his- 
tory of this program, see PSP 55, I, pp. 91-95. 


Table 5 — Presidential Objectives: Ordnance Items, 3 January 1942 




Totals . , . . 




Heavy. . - 





Light . 

Totals _ _ 

AA Guns 

3 7- mm. _ , _ _ . _ _ __ 





40-mm . 


Totals . _ . 

AT Guns 




3-inch . 


Machine Guns 
(Ground, tank, AA) 





for three stages of Army expansion: 3.6 
million troops to be fully equipped by the 
end of 1942; double that number by the 
end of 1943; and an "ultimate" force of 
over 10 million equipped by the end of 
1 944. The Army staff estimated the cost of 
the 1942 and 1943 programs combined at 
about $63 billion, far above the $45 billion 
maximum the production experts had earl- 
ier set for 1 942. 61 

Despite the term "over-all" in the title, 
the new program was far from all-inclusive. 
It made no provision for construction 
needs, miscellaneous supplies, Navy items 
procured by the Army, or allowances to 
fill distribution pipelines, nor did it show 
quantities of materiel on hand. To remedy 

these inadequacies, and to keep require- 
ments within estimated production capac- 
ity, the program was completely restudied 
during the weeks that followed and was 
replaced early in April by the Army Sup- 
ply Program issued by the newly created 
Services of Supply (later redesignated 
Army Service Forces, or ASF). 62 The first 

61 (1) ASF Ann Rpt FY 1943. P- 18; (2) Leigh- 
ton and Coakley, Global Logistics, 1940-1943, ch. 

a2 For the reorganization of the War Depart- 
ment early in 1942, and the creation of the Serv- 
ices of Supply, see Millett, Organization of the 
Army Service Forces, ch. II, and Leighton and 
Coakley, Global Logistics, 1940-1943, ch. IX. For 
the relationship between Ordnance and ASF, see 
|ch. VI | of Green, Thomson, and Roots, Planning 



ASP, sometimes called the Balanced Pro- 
gram, consisted of several sections that 
projected Army needs for three calendar 
years, 1942, 1943, and 1944, and provided 
what General Somervell once called "a 
spelled-out all-out program of complete 
Army requirements." 83 Since the War De- 
partment reorganization gave the air arm a 
status independent of the Army Ground 
Forces and Services of Supply, the ASP 
did not include requirements for airplanes 
but did include Ordnance-supplied air- 
craft guns, ammunition, and bombs. 
Where requirements for tanks, antitank 
guns, antiaircraft guns, and machine guns, 
computed in the orthodox fashion, did not 
equal the figures set by the President in 
January they were arbitrarily increased to 
match the Presidential objectives. Total 
required production for 1942-43 was 
about $48 billion, but the ASP, unlike 
Expenditure Programs, did not at first 
show the dollar value of requirements and 
made no reference to appropriations. 64 

Upon receipt of the ASP or other state- 
ments of requirements, Ordnance drew up 
a production planning book for each cate- 
gory of equipment. Using separate sheets 
for each item of materiel, these books 
showed total requirements, facilities in pro- 
duction or scheduled for future produc- 
tion, and estimated delivery rates for each 
month during 1942 and 1943, and some- 
times early 1944. Each book included a 
statement of production accomplishments 
and difficulties to date, availability of ma- 
chine tools and materials, and actions 
recommended by Ordnance to speed pro- 

Munitions for War, The evolution of the ASP is 
described briefly in Ann Rpt ASF FY 1943, ch. 2, 
and more fully in Frank, op. cit., with copies of 
numerous basic documents. See also Min of the 
conf on the ASP held in Somervell's office. 

duction. When discussed by the appropri- 
ate division chief at production conferences 
attended by representatives of the War 
Production Board, the Under Secretary's 
office, and other high-level agencies, these 
books played an important role in helping 
to formulate requirements policies during 
the first six to eight months after Pearl 

All during this period officials of the 
Office of Production Management and the 
War Production Board contended that re- 
quirements were being set at unrealistic 
levels. In the so-called feasibility dispute 
they took the position that the Army's 
goals were too high to be achieved in the 
time allotted. Although not familiar with 
the strategic justification for all the guns, 
ammunition, and tanks included in the 
various programs, they nevertheless 
doubted the need for such huge quantities 
of equipment ; and, knowing the hard facts 
of munitions production, they questioned 
the feasibility of the objectives. In this 
matter they were joined by Ordnance 
officers who felt that the President and the 
General Staff were allowing their judg- 
ment to be unduly influenced by urgent 
British requests for aid and by the public 
clamor for prompt action that followed 

63 Memo, Somervell for Moore, 11 Jan 4a. For 
detailed statement of regulations governing its 
preparation, see SOS Admin Memo 38, 16 Sep 4a, 
OO 381/9948 Misc and WD Tech Manual 38- 
aio, 35 Jan 44. The ASP was briefly described by 
Maj. Gen Lucius D. Clay in "The Army Supply 
Program," Fortune, February 1943, pp. 96-97, 

64 (1) Smith, Army and Economic Mobiliza- 
tion; (2) McMullen, Ordnance Administration, 
pt. IV, ch. XVII, p. 650, OHF. For the War 
Department's effort to persuade the President to 
reduce his objectives, see Ltr, Actg SW to Presi- 
dent, 10 Jan 42, and reply dated 12 Jan 42, ASF 
Contl Div files, 400 Time Objective. 



the outbreak of war. 85 Describing the 
goals as wholly impossible, the War Pro- 
duction Board planning committee in 
March 1942 called for reduction of the 
Army Ordnance portion of the total pro- 
gram from $15.6 billion in 1942 to $9.2 
billion. 66 Ordnance officers concentrated 
their fire on foreign aid requirements, 
which loomed rather large in the over-all 
picture, arguing that they were far too 
high and were not based on precise calcu- 
lation of needs. There was virtually no 
argument on this score within the Army. 
The prevailing view was expressed by Maj. 
Gen. Richard C. Moore, former Deputy 
Chief of Staff, who remarked at a produc- 
tion conference in June 1942: "I'll tell you 
one thing about Defense Aid — they just 
guessed the requirements. They never had 
a true basis. They didn't have any founda- 
tion. They just reached up in the air and 
got what they thought the United States 
would give them." General Somervell 
agreed. "That's entirely correct." 67 

In spite of the President's reiteration on 
1 May of his desire to see the January goals 
attained, the Army Supply Program under- 
went constant revision during 1 942 and, to 
the relief of Or dnance lead ers, was steadily 
scaled down. 68 \( Table 6) The authors of 

the program had hoped that it would re- 
quire full recomputation only once each 
year, but the need for revision became 
apparent almost as soon as the first ASP 
was distributed. Reductions in production 
goals were dictated in part by the rubber 
shortage that followed the loss of Malaya 
and in part by lack of enough production 
capacity for Army trucks. Lend-lease re- 
quirements were cut and less mechanized 
equipment was provided for the U.S. 
forces. A few weeks later, in mid-July 
1942, ASF informed the technical services 
that the ground equipment section would 

have to be revised again because of 
"changes in the Troop Basis, modifications 
in the Tables of Organization, Tables of 
Basic Allowances, and Tables of Allow- 
ances, and the adoption of new mainte- 
nance and distribution factors." 69 In this 
edition, major reductions resulted from 
earmarking certain units in the Troop 
Basis as training units that would remain 
in the United States during 1942 and 
would therefore require only half the au- 
thorized allowance of certain items. Re- 
quirements for small arms ammunition 
were sharply reduced in the summer of 
1942, bringing them closer to Ordnance 
recommendations, and causing cancellation 
of 43 production lines. 

During the second half of 1 942 the Ord- 
nance load was both increased and de- 

" n Ordnance views were made plain in the pro- 
duction conferences of 1942 and were repeated by 
many retired Ordnance officers during interviews 
while this volume was in preparation. For WPB 
views, see Smith, Army and Economic Mobiliza- 
tion, Chapter X; CPA, Industrial Mobilization for 
War, part III, chapter 4; John E. Brigante, The 
Feasibility Dispute (Washington: Committee on 
Public Administration Cases, 1950) ; and Memo, 
WPB Ping Comm. to Donald Nelson, 1 7 Mar 42, 
WPB PD 212 Prod Programs, NA. The whole sub- 
ject is reviewed in Leighton and Coakley, Global 
Logistics, 1 940-1943, ch. VIII. 

68 Memo, Ping Comm. to Nelson, 17 Mar 42. 

07 Review of the Prod Plans of the Ammo Div, 
OCO, 19 Jun 42, T652-C. See also Production 
Progress and Production Scheduling, p. 7, a rpt 
based on the presentation to the WPB by SOS on 
1 Dec 42, ASF 200.02. The growing pains of lend- 
lease are described in Leighton and Coakley, 
Global Logistics, 1 940- 1 943, ch. III. 

flS For the broad background see Smith, Army 
and Economic Mobilization; Leighton and Coak- 
ley, Global Logistics, Production Progress and 
Production Scheduling, pp. 7-8; and CPA In- 
dustrial Mobilization for War. 

,i9 Memo, ASF for tech servs, 15 Jul 42, sub: 
Recomputation of . . . ASP, ex. 39 in Frank, op. 
cit. For broad picture of Troop Basis planning, 
see Greenfield, Palmer, and Wiley, Organization 
of Ground Combat Troops, pp. 189-259. 



Table 6 — Decline in Tank Requirements During 1942 
[In Round Numbers] 


11 February 1942 
Over-all Require- 
ments for War 
Munitions Program 

6 April 1942 
Army Supply 

1 September 1942 
Army Supply 

12 November 1942 
Army Supply 
Progra m 






Light. . 















creased. The increase came in September 
with transfer from the Quartermaster 
Corps to Ordnance of all responsibility for 
trucks and other noncombat vehicles. The 
decrease came two months later when, 
after the President's decision to boost out- 
put of ships and planes during 1943 and 
cut back requirements for armored forces, 
a new computation of the ASP was issued 
under date of 12 November 1942. 70 It 
reduced requirements for medium tanks 
and allied vehicles by some 21,000 units 
and marked the end of the "all out" effort 
to build tanks. As the danger of air attacks 
faded, some 11,000 A A guns were elimi- 
nated from 1943 requirements. At the 
same time — less than one year after Pearl 
Harbor — small arms ammunition require- 
ments were cut back further and construc- 
tion work on new ammunition plants was 
canceled. All together, work was stopped 
on more than 75 Ordnance projects. 71 The 
new ASP called for production of only 
about $22 billion in 1943 instead of over 
$31 billion required for 1943 by the first 
edition. 72 By the end of 1942 the troop 
basis listed only one hundred divisions, 
instead of the two hundred earlier planned, 
and the number of armored divisions had 
dropped from over sixty to only twenty. 

Introduction of Supply Control, IQ44.-45 

The cutbacks in 1942 did not prevent 
production in 1943 from reaching peak 
levels. Plants newly built or converted to 
munitions production during the first year 
of war poured forth a flood of military 
supplies in the second year. The accom- 
panying list of Ordnance items selected 

7 Copy in OCO-Detroit file. See also Memo, 
Brig Gen L. D. Clay, ACofS Materiel, for CG 
SOS, 8 Nov 42, sub: Effect on Prod of Further 
Curtailment in Troop Basis, ASF; Memo, Clay to 
Somervell, 28 Aug 42, sub: Revision of ASP, ex. 
44 in Frank, op. cit.; and Master Schedule, Ord 
Ind Div, 25 Nov 42, OHF. 

71 ( 1 ) Memo, CofOrd for Chief Prod Div, SOS, 
2 1 Nov 42, sub: Review of Mil Construction, 
WPB file PD 411.33 Construction Projects, NA. 
(a) Memo, Maj Gen Lucius D. Clay for Somer- 
vell, 14 Dec 42, sub: Construction Stopped by 
Ord, ASF Prod Div, folder 400-Rqmts Gen 1943. 
(3) Major Items of Munitions Removed from 
1943 War Prod Objectives. . . , WPB PD file 212 
NA. For the status of deliveries, requirements, 
and scheduled production of all major items, see 
Master Schedule, Ord Ind Div, 25 Nov 42, OHF. 

72 For tabulation of dollar values for the edi- 
tions of ASP, see Smith, Army and Economic 
Mobilization, Chapter VII. For quantities of items 
and planned monthly capacity, see various issues 
of Master Schedule of Ordnance Industrial Divi- 
sion, 10 August 1942, 20 September 1942, and 25 
November 1942. See also bar charts showing re- 
quired production at various intervals in [Wood], 
Background of the ASP. 


Table 7 — Selected Ordnance Items, 1942-1943 



2^-ton trucks 

Medium tanks 

75-mm. howitzer 

40-mm. AA guns 


Aircraft machine guns 

.30-cal. rifle Ml 

.50-cal. cartridges 




more or less at random illustrates the con- 
trast between 1942 and 1943. (Table 7) 

By the end of the first year after Pearl 
Harbor the immense task of equipping the 
rapidly expanding Army was well under 
way. Sufficient supplies were on hand for 
the North Africa landings in November 
1942, for the supply of other overseas 
forces, and for aid to allies. By the summer 
of 1943 the first phase of the supply 
process was virtually complete, and reserve 
stocks of many items were beginning to 
accumulate. In July and August 1943 the 
War Department Procurement Review 
Board headed by Maj. Gen, Frank R. 
McCoy, and including among its members 
a former Chief of Ordnance, General 
Williams, surveyed the whole situation and 
reached the conclusion that the time had 
come for closer screening of requirements 
and tighter control of inventories. 73 As 
noted above, a move in this direction had 
been taken by Ordnance and other techni- 
cal services earlier in the year with the 
dispatch overseas of teams trained to sur- 
vey actual consumption data. 7 * 

The conclusions of the McCoy Board 
were received with some misgivings at ASF 
headquarters. Maj. Gen. Lucius D. Clay, 
ASF Director of Materiel, had labored 
hard throughout 1942 to boost production 

and overcome equipment shortages. His 
goal had been to supply combat troops 
with all the fighting tools they needed, and 
to that end he had constantly urged indus- 
trial leaders and workers in the shops to 
put forth every effort to meet their produc- 
tion quotas. Now the McCoy report gave 
the impression that production had caught 
up with demand and that relaxation of 
effort was in order. "They came out with a 
report telling the world that we had too 
much of everything," complained General 
Clay in the spring of 1944, "and the 
emphasis went over on economy instead 
of man-you-don't-be-short." 75 In General 
Clay's opinion it was "the worst thing that 
ever happened around here," for it resulted 
in a slackening of effort on the home front 
during 1944. Cutbacks in some production 
schedules were certainly called for by the 
latter half of 1943, but there were major 
exceptions, such as artillery ammunition, 

73 For copy of McCoy Bd Rpt, see Levels of 
Supply and Supply Procedure, I Jan 44, op. cit. 
The board was appointed by WD SO No. 183, 
a Jul 43. 

7 *PSP 5 5,P- 134. 

75 Tekon, Clay and Maj. Gen. Levin Campbell, 
Jr., 47 Mar 44, in folder Heavy Arty and Ammo, 
Ord ExecO file. 



which should have been pushed ahead in- 
stead of being held back. 76 

As a follow-up to the McCoy Board 
report a special committee headed by Brig. 
Gen. George J. Richards studied reserve 
stocks in both the ZI and overseas. It 
recommended some cuts and urged im- 
provement in methods for computing re- 
quirements and controlling reserve sup- 
plies, but did not take exception to the 
supplies of ammunition that had accumu- 
lated during the period of limited fighting. 
In view of the rise in total Army storage 
inventories to more than $5 billion the 
committee urged that for some types of 
equipment reliance be placed in the future 
on reserve production capacity rather than 
on reserve stocks. As sea lanes to all thea- 
ters were open the committee urged reduc- 
tion in the huge reserve stocks in overseas 
depots. The so-called McNarney Directive 
of 1 January 1944 put these recommenda- 
tions into effect and was soon followed by 
the introduction of new techniques that 
came to be known as Supply Control. 77 In 
essence, the new system was nothing more 
than a close integration of all supply data 
with known requirements. For each princi- 
pal item of equipment, it brought together 
on one sheet of paper all data affecting 
supply and demand status, including past 
issue experience, estimated future issues to 
ports, and the schedule of future produc- 
tion. Monthly supply reports from overseas 
commands were used to keep procurement 
plans in line with the actual supply situa- 
tion in the theaters of war. From the 
production standpoint an important fea- 
ture of the Supply Control system was the 
fact that, unlike the ASP, it stated require- 
ments on a monthly as well as an annual 
basis with a view toward keeping closer 
control of procurement and supply. 78 

Requirements leveled off in the 1944-45 

period as compared to the earlier years. 
Production was mostly for replacement of 
equipment worn out or lost in action, and 
settled down to a fairly stable level month 
after month. But for Ordnance there were 
several major exceptions to this rule. Adop- 
tion of new types of weapons and ammuni- 
tion, or suddenly increased demands for 
old types, caused sharp fluctuations in 
requirements. 79 A notable example was 
the emergence of rockets as major Ord- 
nance items, resulting in a steadily rising 
curve of requirements for rockets and 
launchers during the latter half of the war. 
In other areas the trend was toward big- 
ness — heavy artillery to batter down fixed 
defenses, blockbuster bombs to blast mili- 
tary targets, huge tanks to counter the 
German heavyweights, and large trucks to 
provide fast overland transport in the 
European theater. Whatever the nature of 
the change in requirements, they spelled 
trouble for Ordnance. In large measure 

76 See below, |Chapter "x[ and Comparison of 
Victory Program 1 roop Basis of 22 Nov 43 with 
Victory Program Troop Basis of 15 June 1943, 
exhibit 94 in Frank, op. cii., showing sharp drop 
in AA artillery and armor. 

71 (1) Smith, Army and Economic Mobilization, 
ch. VII; (2) Frank, op. cit.; (3) PSP 55, I, P- 
i32ff; (4) ASF Cir 67, 7 Mar 44, pt. 3; (5) ASF 
Manual M413. The McNarney directive, the re- 
port of the McCoy Board, and the report of the 
Richards Committee appear in Levels of Supply 
and Supply Procedure, 1 Jan 44, copy in OCMH. 
The background is discussed in Annual Report of 
Requirements Division, ASF, FY 1944, and in 
Memo, ASF Director of Materiel for ASF, di- 
rectory 28 Jan 44, copy in OHF. 

78 PSP 55, I. discusses this topic in some detail. 
See also Frank, op. cit., pp. 1 38fT and Smith, 
Army, and Economic Mobilization, ch. VI-VIII. 
Since the impact of the new procedures within 
Ordnance was greatest in Field Service the sub- 
ject is discussed below in |tjhapter A.V1."] 

70 For summary statements see Ann Rpt ASF 
FY 1944, ch. 7, and Memo, CG ASF for Director 
OWMR, 7 Dec 44, ASF Director Materiel file, 
dr 1595, Reading File, Materiel. 



the chapters that follow are devoted to the 
maneuvers necessary to keep production in 
line with stated requirements. 

As early as 1943 the War Department 
took steps to estimate the effect on require- 
ments of the end of the war in Europe. To 
guard against adverse psychological effects 
Df announcing that the Army was already 
planning for the end of the war, the fact 
that demobilization studies were being 
conducted was not made public, and with- 
in the Army they were discreetly referred 
to as "special planning" studies. They be- 
gan in the fall of 1943 with a requirements 
computation based on a reduced troop 
basis for Period I — after defeat of Germany 
but before defeat of Japan — and from that 
time forward special planning computa- 

tions played a more and more important 
role as the end of the war came closer. 
After the defeat of Germany in early May 
1945, the Ordnance Materiel Control Di- 
vision (the former Requirements Division) 
continued its calculations for the redeploy- 
ment of materiel from Europe to the Far 
East. The task involved determining what 
quantities should be kept in Europe and 
what surplus materiel was serviceable 
enough, or could be properly repaired, for 
shipment to the Pacific. In the war against 
Japan the Army planned to use more heavy 
infantry weapons, more amphibious equip- 
ment, more self-propelled artillery, and 
fewer heavy tanks. While these calculations 
were in process the Japanese surrender 
was announced and the war was over. 



Artillery weapons were the dark horses 
of World War II. Less spectacular and 
newsworthy than tanks and planes, they 
were sometimes neglected, if not forgotten, 
until the need for them reached the crisis 
stage. The artillery lessons of World War I 
had been forcefully set down in 1 9 1 9 when 
the Westervelt Board emphasized the need 
for systematic development of improved 
weapons. But lack of funds during the in- 
terwar period slowed research to a snail's 
pace and practically stopped all procure- 
ment of new materiel. 1 At the start of the 
defense period in 1939 and 1940 there was 
a tendency, stronger at the General Staff 
level than in Ordnance, to feel that big 
guns were outmoded, that aerial bombard- 
ment would in the future largely replace 
artillery fire. The ground forces believed 
that nothing larger than the 155-mm. gun 
"Long Tom" would be needed. But exper- 
ience soon exposed the error of these no- 
tions. Fighting in North Africa, at Stalin- 
grad, on Pacific islands, and in Italy 
proved there was no substitute for big, 
powerful guns to blast enemy fortifications 
or lay down a curtain of fire before advanc- 
ing foot soldiers. No lesson of World War 
II was plainer than this. Only heavy artil- 
lery could provide sustained, accurately 
placed fire on a 'round-the-clock basis re- 
gardless of weather conditions. 2 In Italy 
the Allied forces found themselves con- 

sistently outranged by German heavy artil- 
lery but they accepted only reluctantly 
the assignment of 240-mm. howitzers and 
8-inch guns. 3 

As the war progressed, demands arose 
for more powerful tank guns, automatic 
aircraft guns, and a variety of self- 
propelled antitank and antiaircraft weap- 
ons. Rapid-firing guns of intermediate cali- 
ber proved essential for AA defense as guns 
powerful and accurate enough to reach 
fast, high-flying bombers. The trend in 
tank armament was all toward more 
powerful guns firing armor-piercing am- 

1 Green, Th omson, an d Roots, Planning Muni- 
tions for War, |ch. VII J See also History of the 
Procurement Activities of the Ordnance Depart- 
ment Since 1938 in Truman Comm. Report, Aug 
46, OHF. 

2 For discussion of this theme, see address by 
Maj. Gen. Gladeon M. Barnes before the Ameri- 
can Society for Metals, 19 Oct 44, Cleveland O., 
OHF. The same thought was vigorously presented 
by Senator Harry S. Truman in Truman Comm. 
Hearings, pt. 25. See also Campbell's Memo for 
Somervell, 3 Jun 43, quoting letter from Col. D. 
J. Crawford, Ordnance officer in Africa, OHF, 
and Brig. Gen. Gordon M. Wells "The New 155- 
mm. Howitzer," Army Ordnance, vol. XXVIII, 
No. 149 (March-April 1945), 223-25. The Air 
Force view is set forth in Wesley Frank Craven 
and James Lea Cate, eds., "The Army Air Forces 
in World War II," vol. Ill, Europe: Argument 
to V-E Day, January 1944 to May (Chicago: 
The University of Chicago Press, 195 1 ) , ch. X. 

3 Lida Mayo, draft MS for | Ordnance Over-| 
seas, Anzio ch., OHF. 



munition. In addition to .50-caliber ma- 
chine guns, airplanes required automatic 
weapons of artillery caliber, chiefly the 
20-mm. and 37-mm. 4 When the United 
States began to rearm in 1940 the Ord- 
nance Department, still suffering from 
twenty years of poverty, was ill prepared to 
meet the new demands. Speedy develop- 
ment of improved types or adoption of 
war-tested foreign models became the order 
of the day with the result that nearly all 
the artillery pieces in the hands of U.S. 
troops in 1943 were different from those 
standard in 19 38. 8 

The prewar neglect of artillery develop- 
ment was a sad mistake, for the design and 
manufacture of big guns cannot be im- 
provised on the spur of the moment. De- 
sign and test of a new weapon takes 
months, even years, of effort. Adoption of 
foreign weapons always entails a host of 
production problems and delays. Building 
new plants and tooling them for the man- 
ufacture of complete artillery pieces in 
quantity are always time-consuming proc- 
esses. For the U.S. Army this lesson had 
been forcibly driven home in 191 7-19 18 
when only a few American-made artillery 
weapons reached France in time to contrib- 
ute to the defeat of Germany. 6 During the 
two decades that followed the Armistice, 
some effort was devoted to improving man- 
ufacturing techniques, but the over-all ad- 
vance was slight. 7 Big guns were expensive 
items that the small Ordnance budget 
would not adequately cover. Nevertheless, 
when war appeared imminent in 1 940 even 
the slight progress made during the lean 
years was important, and the mere exist- 
ence of arsenals with long experience in the 
manufacture and procurement of guns, 
recoil mechanisms, carriages, and fire con- 
trol instruments was of incalculable help in 
getting production started. 

Artillery on Hand in 1940 

In the spring of 1940 the Army's stock 
of field artillery was made up for the most 
part of antiquated pieces left over from 
World War I. About 40 percent of the 
weapons (including mortars) on hand 
were 75-mm. guns of World War I vintage, 
most of French manufacture. Though ex- 
cellent in their day, they had long since 
been outmoded. 8 During the 1930's some 
of the old 75's had been "high-speeded" 
with roller bearings and pneumatic tires 
that enabled them to travel 50 miles per 
hour on good roads but had no effect on 
their firepower. For the 75 an improved 
carriage with split trails was developed to 
increase its range, angle of elevation, and 
traverse, but, for lack of money, only a few 
weapons had been so improved. Through- 
out the 1930's the using arms considered 
this gun their standard field artillery weap- 
on and stoutly defended it even as late as 
1939 and 1940. But on the eve of World 

4 The dividing line between small arms and ar- 
tillery was drawn at .6o-caliber by Ordnance in 
World War II. 

5 ( 1 ) Green, Thomson, a nd Roots , Planning 
\Munitions for War,\ especially |ch. Vllfc (2) Hist, 
Arty Div, Ind Serv OCO, 1940-45, I, sec. 2; (3) 
The Development Record in Artillery, draft in 
typescript form apparently prepared in Ord Hist 
Br in 1945, OHF. 

8 ( 1 ) Final Rpt, Gen John J. Pershing, 1 Sep 
19, pt. Ill, sec. 24; (a) Rpt SW, 11 Nov 19, pp. 

7 ( 1 ) Brig. Gen. Gordon M. Wells, "Artillery" 
in Army Ordnance Association pamphlet, Artillery 
in World War II and Plans for the Future, May 
1946, OHF; (2) Campbell, op. cit., pp. 206-07; 
(3) Green, Thomson, and Roots, Planning Mu- 

\nitions jor War, ch. Vllfc (4) Hist, Arty Div, Ind 
Serv, OGO, I, sec. 2. 

8 For frank criticism of the 75, see remarks of 
Senator Thomas (Okla.), Congressional Record, 
96th Cong., 3d sess., May 15, 1940, vol 86, pt. 
6, p. 6135. For comparison of American with 
German and Japanese artillery, see The Develop- 
ment Record in Artillery. 


Table 8 — Artillery Available, 30 June 1940 





Antiaircraft guns: 

Tank and antitank guns: 


37-mm. antitank . 


3-inch . . 


37-mm. tank _ . 




Field guns: 


75-mm. (all models) 




155-mm. (all models) 




3 2,971 





* 33 


81-mm _ 


3-inch trench 

Source: Green, Thomson, Roots. \Flannine Munitions j or War, p. 7471 Compare tabulation as of 31 Dec 39 in Hist, Arty Div, I, 
Bee. 10, Fig. 1. Compare also artillery available to British Home Forces on 8 June 1940 as summarized by Peter Fleming in Operation 
Sea Lion (New York; Simon and Schuster, 1957), pp. 198-99. 

a Includes 599 high-speeded. 

b Number produced before 30 June 1940 according to production records of Weapons and Fire Contl Br. Ind Div, OCO. 

War II it was superseded by the more 
powerful and more modern 105-mm. how- 
itzer. 9 

Nearly all the remaining guns and how- 
itzers in stock were obsolete — deficient in 
range, mobility, or other important tactical 
features. The situation had not changed 
much since early 1939 when the Chief of 
Staff had declared, "Twenty years after the 
close of the World War finds us equipped 
with much the same type of artillery we 
used during the war." 10 Furthermore, the 
limited stocks were depleted after Dun- 
kerque by transfer to the British Army of 
some 895 75-mm. guns, along with small 
arms and ammunition of various calibers. 11 
By the end of June 1940, when the French 
surrendered and the outlook for all the 
democracies was gloomy, the sum total of 
mobile artillery available to the U.S. Army 
was not impressive. (Table 8) The only 
reasonably modern weapons on this list 
were the new 105-mm. howitzers just go- 

ing into production, the 155-mm. "Long 
Tom" guns, and the 75-mm. pack howit- 
zers, and the newly adopted 60-mm. and 
81-mm. mortars. The 37-mm. tank and 
antitank weapons were effective against 
light tanks but useless against the heavy, 
thick-skinned tanks coming into service in 
Europe. 12 In like manner the 3-inch anti- 

9 For Congressional reluctance to modernize the 
obsolescent 75's, see H.R. Rpt No. na, 76th 
Cong., 1 st sess., 1 Mar 39, p. 9. For the Army's 
defense of the 75, see WDAB, H.R., 76th Cong., 
3d sess., pp. 5-7, and WDAB, S., H.R. 4630, 76th 
Cong., 1st sess., 15 Mar 3g, pp. 38-41. See also 
Min, Wesson Confs, 22 Oct 41. 

lf> Statement by Gen Malin Craig, WDAB, H.R., 
76th Cong., 1st sess., 1940, 24 Jan 39. See also 
Kreidberg and Henry Military Mobilization, 'pp. 
55o-5 1- 

1 1 For a detailed account of British artillery de- 
velopment and use during these years, see Briga- 
dier A. L. Pemberton, The Development of 
Artillery Tactics and Equipment (London, 1950). 

12 PSP 31, The Design, Development and Pro- 
duction of Wheeled Antitank Guns, May 1945, I, 
p. 2, OHF. 



Inspecting a 75-mm. Pack Howitzer during Third Army maneuvers prior to World 
War II. From left, in civilian clothes, are Congressmen J. Buell Snyder, Overton Brooks, and 
Francis Case. 

aircraft gun was ineffective against high- 
flying planes then being produced, 13 Ord- 
nance was designing and testing improved 
weapons to make good these deficiencies, 
but the supply of guns ready for action 
was both meager and out of date, and the 
prospects for immediate new production 
were limited. As late as the winter of 
1943-44 some 155-mm. howitzers of 
World War I vintage were in service in 
Italy. Their tubes were still in good con- 
dition but their carriages and recoil mech- 
anisms gave no end of trouble, largely due 
to their old age. 14 

Production Preparedness 

To the average citizen, familiar only 
with cannon displayed in the village 

square, these weapons appear to be noth- 
ing more than simple steel tubes mounted 
on sets of wheels. But close examination of 
World War II guns reveals that they were 
highly complicated mechanisms demanding 
top quality steel and precision workman- 
ship, with tubes or barrels 15 strong 

13 For contemporary criticism and rebuttal, see 
article by Arthur Krock in New York Times, 
October 1, 1940, and Memo, CofOrd for ASW, 
2 Oct 40, ExecO file M-Materiel-Cannon. 

14 Ltr, Lt Col Harry P. Storke, Arty officer, Hq 
II Corps, to Brig Gen Wells, Hq Fifth Army, 4 
Jan 44, sub: Comments on Arty Materiel, copy 
in OHF. This 8-page letter reports on perform- 
ance of all types of U.S. artillery. 

15 The term "barrel," as applied to gun tubes, 
derives from the ancient practice of forming can- 
non from metal rods arranged like barrel staves 
and held in place by hoops. 



enough to withstand pressures of approxi- 
mately forty thousand pounds per square 
inch. Every step in the process of gun 
production had to be rigidly controlled to 
assure the desired metallurgical results. 
After the forged or cast gun tube was 
carefully machined inside and out, its bore 
had to be honed to a mirror finish and 
then rifled to precise dimensions, with 
measurements to the thousandth of an 
inch the rule rather than the excep- 
tion. 16 Recoil mechanisms and recupera- 
tors, mounted on the carriage to take up 
the force of recoil and return the gun to 
firing position, were made of cylinders and 
pistons that could withstand extremely 
high internal pressures. "The action of the 
240-mm. recuperator after a shot," wrote 
Benedict Crowell following World War I, 
"is equivalent to stopping a locomotive 
[traveling at more than 50 miles per hour] 
in less than 4 feet in half a second without 
damage." 17 Recoil mechanisms had to be 
built with great care to withstand repeated 
firings, for failure of a recoil mechanism 
was potentially as dangerous as failure of 
the gun tube itself. Carriages and mounts 
were rugged platforms capable of absorb- 
ing all the stresses and strains of firing the 
piece. They also carried sighting and rang- 
ing devices, fuze setters, and gears and 
hand wheels for aiming the gun. "On- 
carriage" fire control equipment for field 
artillery was fairly simple — telescopes and 
gunner's quadrants — but "off-carriage" di- 
rectors for antiaircraft guns were incredibly 
complex, containing thousands of pre- 
cision-made parts. 18 

The most encouraging factor in the pro- 
duction picture in 1940 was the existence 
of four Ordnance arsenals experienced in 
manufacture of artillery components. Wat- 
ervliet was the center for production of 
finished guns. Watertown made gun cast- 

ings as well as carriages and recoil mech- 
anisms for seacoast and antiaircraft guns. 
Rock Island made carriages and recoil 
mechanisms for field guns, and Frankford 
supplied fire control instruments. These 
four arsenals were prepared in 1940 to do 
two things immediately: manufacture and 
assemble artillery components on a small 
scale in their own shops, and instruct 
industry in the mysteries of the gunmaker's 
art. 19 Before the outbreak of the war in 
Europe there had been no production of 
field artillery by American private indus- 
try for many years. In fact, during the two 
decades of peace between the wars, there 
had been very little production of big guns 
anywhere in the United States. The small 
additions to Army supplies permitted year 
by year had come chiefly from the Ord- 
nance arsenals, while a few private con- 
tractors and the Naval Guri Factory — sup- 
plemented on occasion by the Ordnance 
arsenals — had supplied the Navy's needs. 20 
Equipped in 1938 and 1939 with many 
new machine tools and staffed with ex- 
perienced craftsmen, the Ordnance arsenals 
were ready in 1 940 to go immediately into 

16 Lt. Col. Thomas J. Hayes, Elements of Ord- 
nance (New York: J. Wiley and Sons, 1938), pp. 
158-67, pp. 300-11. For an older but nonetheless 
useful account, see Benedict Crowell, America's 
Munitions igiJ-18 (Washington, 1919), pp. 21- 

17 Crowell, America's Munitions, p. 57. 

18 (1) Artillery, 1 Jul 40-31 Aug 45, prepared 
in Ord Hist Sec by F. D. McHugh, C. B. Rosa, 
and F. W. F. Gleason, under the direction of 
Brig Gen John K. Christmas, 31 Dec 45, OHF; 
(2) Rpt on M5 Director by Singer Mfg Co. in 
Hist, New York Ord Dist, 100, pt. 3. 

19 History, Artillery Division, OCO, op. cit., I. 
sec. 3, and Truman Comm. Report. Compare 
with the situation in 19 17 as described in Crowell, 
op. cit. 

i0 For the Navy experiences, see Lt. Cdr. Buford 
Rowland and Lt. William B. Boyd, U.S. Navy 
Bureau of Ordnance in World War II (Washing- 
ton, 1953). 



production. They constituted a ready in- 
dustrial reserve to help meet the national 
emergency and during the defense period 
produced approximately 25 percent of all 
artillery built for the Army. 21 But it was 
well understood that they could supply 
only a small fraction of the Army's artil- 
lery demands in time of war. To arm a 
large force, and to help supply friendly 
nations, main reliance would have to be 
placed on production by private industry. 

The hitch was that industry was un- 
familiar with the manufacture of artillery. 22 
Through its industrial surveys, which were 
given added impetus in the late 1930's, 
Ordnance had acquired some knowledge of 
the firms most suitable for war production 
and had discussed with them the problem 
of gun manufacture. In the spring of 1939 
Ordnance took a further step, placing with 
R. Hoe and Company, a New York manu- 
facturer of printing presses, an educational 
order for five recoil mechanisms for the 
3-inch AA gun. One of the first four 
educational orders placed by Ordnance, it 
was satisfactorily completed within a year. 
The company was then given a production 
contract for 125 mechanisms of the same 
type, and completed them in less time 
than it took to make the first 5. Having 
proved its ability to deliver the goods, R. 
Hoe and Company was asked to make 
recoil mechanisms for the new 90-mm. A A 
gun, which replaced the 3-inch, and there- 
after Hoe continued as a major Ordnance 
supplier. 23 

During 1940 and early 1941 additional 
educational orders for recoil mechanisms 
went to another printing press facility, 
Walter Scott and Company of New Jersey, 
and to the Byron Jackson Company of 
California, a leader in the oil equipment 
industry. The contract with Walter Scott 
turned out badly and had to be terminated 

a year later without delivery of any mech- 
anisms, but Byron Jacksort completed its 
order in the spring of 1942 and continued 
during the war to produce recoil mechan- 
isms for Ordnance. Another educational 
order went to the Duraloy Company for 
work on centrifugal castings, and several 
were awarded other firms, principally East- 
man Kodak Company, and Mergenthaler- 
Linotype Company, for telescopes, aiming 
circles, and related fire control instruments. 
To cover additional artillery items Ord- 
nance turned to the less costly production 
study, 24 which did not call for production 
of materiel but nevertheless provided essen- 
tial data on methods of manufacture. 
While R. Hoe and Company Was complet- 
ing production of recoil mechanisms, for 
the 3-inch AA gun the Otis Elevator 
Company undertook a production study 
on the same process. 25 The Wood News- 
paper Machinery Corp. studied production 
of the 155-mm. mechanism and American 
Type Founders, Inc., the 75-mm. mechan- 
ism. In the spring of 1940 the Cowdrey 
Machine Works undertook a production 
study of the 75-mm. pack howitzer, the 

21 Campbell, op. cit., p. 214. 

52 For comments on this theme, see Notes for 
New York Mtg, 12 Jun 45 by Brig Gen Gordon 
M. Wells, OHF. 

23 (1) Maj Carl A. Gerstacker, Recoil Mech- 
anisms and Equilibrators, Apr 39-May 45, bk. I, 
ch. 1, OHF; (2) Hist, New York Ord Dist, 100, 
pt. 3, statement by Harry M. Tillinghast, chair- 
man of the board of R. Hoe and Co.; (3) Green, 
Thomson, and Roots, Planning Munitions for 
\War, p. 58^ (4) Documents in Educational'Orders 
file, OHF; (5) "Welding Plays Top Role in AA 
Gun Recoils" by Joseph L. Auer, vice president 
R. Hoe and Co., American Machinist, 86 {No- 
vember g 6, 10,42) , 1^7 1 — 82. 

24 See Chapter II 

above for discussion of this 
technique ot procurement planning. 

25 For a revealing account of Otis' experience, 
see its historical report in Hist, New York Ord 
Dist, 100, pt. 3, OHF. 



National Pneumatic Company did the 
same for the 37-mm. tank gun, and the 
Nash Engineering Company took on the 
8 1 -mm, mortar and its mount. Between 
educational orders and production studies 
Ordnance attempted to stretch its meager 
funds over the most important problem 
items in the manufacture of artillery and 
thus prepare industry for munitions pro- 
duction if war should come. 28 

Launching the Program, ig^o^^t 

Though war did not come to the United 
States in 1940, production got under way 
on something approaching a wartime scale, 
as the smoldering conflict in Europe burst 
into flames. Congress appropriated billions 
of dollars for rearmament, and Ordnance 
was given the green light to put its pro- 
curement machinery in action. Firms with 
educational orders received production 
contracts, and the district offices intensified 
their search for other qualified producers. 

After business firms signed contracts to 
produce artillery items they sent their en- 
gineers and master mechanics to arsenal 
shops and drafting rooms to learn all they 
could about tool design, gages, specifica- 
tions, and requirements for material. 
"They all go to Watertown and Water- 
vliet," General Wesson reported at a con- 
ference. "They are just overrun with these 
fellows." 27 The arsenals were able not only 
to provide specifications but also to advise 
on tool design and requirements for ma- 
chinery, and to make gages available for 
study. When manufacturers ran into 
trouble with specific processes they could 
call upon the arsenals to send out trained 
experts to give help. In one instance a 
Picatinny expert on automatic drilling ma- 
chines was lent to an Ordnance contractor 
for three months to help install new equip- 

ment and to train company employees in 
its operation and upkeep. 28 Fundamental 
knowledge of the gunmaking art, carefully 
preserved and nurtured at the arsenals 
during the interwar years, was thus quickly 
passed on to industry at the very start of 
the rearmament effort. 29 

All the arsenals bustled with unaccus- 
tomed activity in 1940-41. They over- 
hauled and modernized weapons in stock, 
installed new machine tools, and recondi- 
tioned buildings that had long been neg- 
lected. Barbed wire was strung along the 
top of stone walls surrounding Watervliet, 
and floodlights were turned on at night. 
Carloads of specialized gunmaking ma- 
chines held in arsenal storage since World 
War I were shipped to Ordnance contrac- 
tors. Manufacturing techniques developed 
during the years of peace were given an 
opportunity to prove their worth. In Octo- 
ber 1940 Watervliet came into the national 
spotlight for a day when it was honored 
with a visit by President Roosevelt. The 
curve of gun production at Watervliet rose 
steadily until an entire year's production at 
the 1938 rate could be turned out in a 
single day. Producing thousands of cen- 
trifugally cast gun tubes, Watertown be- 
came in the 1940-41 period the only im- 
portant source of medium caliber gun 
tubes for the Army. The number of 

26 Documents in Educational Orders folder, 

21 Review Prod Plans of the Arty Div, 13 Feb 
42, p. 34. OHF. 

28 Campbell, op. cit., pp. 44-45. See also History 
of the Watervliet Arsenal, XV, particularly 1 1 1- 

29 The histories of the arsenals on file in OHF 
are replete with examples. See also radio speech 
by Col Steven L. Conner, Apr 42, quoted in Hist, 
Watervliet, XV, 1 14-16. For detailed data on pro- 
curement procedures in 1940-41, see Hist, Arty 
Div, Ind Serv, OCO, 1 Jul 40-1 Oct 45, I, pt. a, 
especially ch. 9. 



Major Caliber Gun Shop at Watervliet, New York, in operation before the begin- 
ning of World War II. 

employees at all the arsenals nearly doubled 
in the twelve months following June 1940, 
and production rose in proportion, its 
value totaling over $138 million in calen- 
dar year 1 941. 30 

The task of getting production started at 
the arsenals was not without its problems, 
but far more difficult was the job of bring- 
ing private firms into production. The 
Ordnance procurement list included can- 
non of many different sizes, all with com- 
plicated recoil mechanisms, carriages, and 
fire control instruments. As the type of 
manufacturing equipment needed for these 
components varied widely, and individual 
firms lacked the machinery to make com- 
plete guns, contracts did not call for com- 
plete weapons but only for certain major 
components. As a result, meeting produc- 
tion schedules demanded widespread co- 

operative effort among all the producers. 
With the 37-mm. antitank gun, for ex- 
ample, Watervliet in the spring of 1940 
made the gun, Rock Island the carriage, 
and Bausch and Lomb Company the sight. 
The 37-mm. antiaircraft gun was more 
complicated, requiring, in addition to Wat- 
ervliet tubes and Watertown carriages, gun 
mechanisms from Colt's Patent Fire Arms 
Manufacturing Company, control sets from 
Bendix Aviation Corporation, and sights 
from General Electric. For the powerful 
go-mm. AA gun Ordnance contracted with 
the Sperry Corporation for directors, 
Bausch and Lomb for height finders, Ben- 
dix for data transmission systems, and R. 
Hoe and Otis Elevator for recoil mecha- 

30 For detailed data, see Hist, Arty Div, Jul 40- 
Oct 45, I, ch. 1, Figs, 2 and 3. 



nisms. All told, more than thirty compon- 
ents of this gun were procured on separate 
prime contracts, and the cost of a single 
complete weapon with its proportionate 
share of fire control instruments amounted 
to about $50,000. 31 In addition to parts 
for assembly into complete weapons, Ord- 
nance called upon industry to produce 
large quantities of spare parts, particularly 
spare tubes to replace those worn out in 
service. 32 

AA Guns 

Because of the growing menace of the 
bombing plane in 1940-41 high priority 
went to guns for antiaircraft defense. They 
were a relatively new type, as time is 
measured in the history of artillery, having 
emerged only as hasty improvisations dur- 
ing the early 1900's. 33 After World War I 
Ordnance had devoted a goodly portion 
of its weapons research funds to develop- 
ment and production of a 3-inch AA gun, 
with the result that about eight hundred 
were on hand in 1940. In peacetime that 
appeared to be a not inconsiderable- quan- 
tity but it was in fact less than the British 
had in 1940 to defend the single city of 
London. 34 Development work of the inter- 
war years had also led to standardization 
of an intermediate AA gun, the 37-mm., 
but, as it was just going into production 
in 1940 at the Colt's Patent Fire Arms 
Manufacturing Company, there was no 
prospect of speedy improvement in out- 
put. 35 General Marshall told a Senate com- 
mittee in the spring of 1940 that, at the 
current rate of production, the Army 
would gain only enough for three addi- 
tional regiments by the end of the year, 
and four more by the end of 1941. He 
referred soberly to "the long and maybe 
tragic delay involved in securing such ma- 

terial after appropriations have actually 
been made." 36 While General Marshall 
was speaking, the 3-inch (76.2-mm.) gun 
was on its way out in favor of the newer 
and more powerful 90-mm. gun beine 
readied for production after its adoption Li 
February 1940. 37 Within a year the 37- 
mm. AA gun was to suffer the same fate. 

Aside from the obsolescent 3-inch, the 
37-mm. was the only antiaircraft gun pn^ 
duced in the United States in 1940, and 
production amounted to but 1 70. By Janu- 
ary 1941 the Colt Company was turning 
this gun out at the rate of forty per month, 
and plans were afoot to adapt the new 
British director to the 37-mm. and produce 
it in the United States. But in February, 
because of the urgent need for 37-mm. 
aircraft guns, Ordnance was ordered to 
sidetrack the 37-mm. AA weapon. 38 At 
the same time a new and more powerful 

31 (1) Sources of Arty Materiel, Incl to Memo, 
Brig Gen Harris, for CofS, 13 May 40, OO 381/ 
36045 NA; (2) Memo, Lt Albert L. Keneman, 
jr., for Lt Col Willis R. Slaughter, 16 Nov 40, 
sub: 37-mm. gun, AA, ASF Prod Div 472.93 AA 
guns, Job 19B, G 1867; (3) Hist, Arty Div, I, ch. 
1, sees. 3 and 4, and ch. VI on spare parts. 

32 For a detailed description of artillery spare 
parts, see History, Artillery Division, Volume I, 
Chapter 6, and Volume 100. 

33 For research and development background, see 
Green, Thomson, and R oots, Planning Munitions 
for War \ Chapter XIV. I 

34 Congressional Record,. S, 14 May 40, 76th 
Cong., 3d sess., vol. 86, pt. 6, p. 6137. 

85 For details on production delays, see Memo, 
Keneman for Slaughter, 16 Nov 40, sub: 37-mm. 
gun, A A, ASF Prod Div 472.93 AA Guns, Job 
19B, G 1867. 

38 Ibid. For background on the 37-mm. gun, see 
PSP 29, 37-mm. and 40-mm. A A Guns, Design, 
Development, and Production (May 1945), OHF. 

37 William S. Lohr, 90-mm. AA Materiel, OHF. 

38 (1) Ltr, TAG to CofOrd, ao Feb 41, sub: 
Schedule for 37-mm. guns, AG 472.91 (2-5-41) 
M-D; (2) Memo, William E. Curley for Slaughter, 
14 Jul 41, sub: Prod of 37-mm. AA Gun, ASF 
Prod Div 472.93 AA Guns, Job 19B, G 1867. 



AA gun entered the picture, a 40-mm. 
weapon made in Sweden by the Bofors 
Company. It was strongly recommended 
by the Chief of Coast Artillery, but Ord- 
nance was reluctant to abandon its heavy 
investment in the 3 7 -mm. and spend many 
months tooling up for the 40-mm. 39 

The Bofors gun had proved its worth in 
the Spanish civil war and on the beaches 
at Dunkerque, and was generally held to 
be superior to the 37-mm. 40 For sale to any 
nation that cared to buy it, it had come to 
the attention of the Ordnance Department 
as early as 1937, but for one reason or 
another, no sample gun was obtained for 
testing. In the fall of 1940, when the 
British were eager to buy munitions from 
American firms, they supplied Ordnance 
with one of their Bofors guns at -about the 
same time that the U.S. Navy obtained one 
directly from Sweden. After performing 
admirably in tests the 40-mm. was adopted 
by the Army. The Navy, equally enthusias- 
tic about the gun, negotiated with Bofors 
for a license to permit manufacture in this 
country of both the Army type air-cooled 
mobile gun and carriage and the Navy type 
water-cooled twin mount. The contract, 
signed in June 1941 , covered manufactur- 
ing rights, blueprints, manufacturing draw- 
ings, and the services for one year of two 
production experts, who, unfortunately, 
never arrived. 41 Early in February 1941 
Ordnance contracted with Chrysler to pre- 
pare working drawings and two pilot 
models of the gun, and a few weeks later 
placed another contract with Firestone 
Tire and Rubber Company to do the same 
for the carriage. The first letters of intent 
to start the tooling up process went out 
over Navy signature to take advantage of 
the higher Navy priorities. 'Barrels for the 
two pilot guns were made by a Canadian 
firm and were rifled at Watervliet. The 

Navy meanwhile contracted with the York 
Safe and Lock Company to supply Navy 
requirements. 42 

The complexity of the 40-mm. carriage 
forced Firestone to spread its work among 
more than 350 subcontractors. Firestone 
had not only to translate all metric meas- 
urements into inches, sometimes with 
troublesome decimals, but also had to make 
all threads and gear shapes conform to 
standard American practice and prepare 
tracings in accord with Ordnance drafting 
room regulations. Urged by Ordnance to 
recommend design changes to speed pro- 
duction or improve operations, Firestone 
contributed a wide variety of acceptable 
ideas. It adopted welding to replace one 
thousand rivets in the Bofors design and 
oilite bushings instead of the original 
manganese-bronze bushings. Steel tubing 
replaced forged and machined axles, a new 
type of traverse mechanism was employed, 
and the carriage was equipped with elec- 
tric instead of hydraulic brakes. These 
steps were typical of the "Americanization" 
of the 40-mm., converting its production 
from a slow, painstaking job according to 

39 (1) Min, Wesson Confs, Feb 41; (2) Memo, 
CofOrd for CofS Gen Marshall, 17 Jan 41, sub: 
Characteristics of the 37-mm. A A . . . , AG 
472.91 (1-17-41); (3) PSP 29; (4) Folder 
marked 40-mm. Bofors Materiel, OHF. 

40 PSP 29, pt. IV. 

41 Gen Barnes, diary, passim, and folder marked 
40-mm. Bofors Mat6riel, both in OHF. For Navy 
background, see Lt. Gol. George M. Chinn, The 
Machine Gun, III, Chapter 22 (Washington, 
■953)> anc l Rowland and Boyd, U.S. Navy Bureau 
of Ordnance in World War II, Chapter 1 1. 

42 (1) McHugh, Rosa, and Gleason, Artillery; 

(2) Barnes, diary, 11 Apr 41, 17 May 41, passim; 

(3) Maj Daniel J. Martin, "The 40-mm. A A Can- 
non," Army Ordnance, XXII, No. 129 (November 
-December 1941), 386; (4) J. E. Trainer, "Anti- 
aircraft Gun Carriages," Army Ordnance, XXII, 
No. 130 (January-February 1942), 543; (5) Hist, 
Detroit Ord Dist, 100, pt. 18, pp. 45ff ; (6) Chinn, 
op. ext.; (7) Rowland and Boyd, op. cit. 



Platform for 90-mm. AA Gun Carriage in production at Watertown Arsenal, Mass., 
September 1940. 

European practice to speedy quantity pro- 
duction on the pattern of American indus- 
try. After the two pilot guns were shipped 
to Aberdeen for test in July 1941, both 
Firestone and Chrysler began tooling up 
and were ready for quantity production 
soon after the Japanese attacked Pearl 
Harbor. But by the end of the year no 
40-mm. guns had been completed. The 
only intermediate AA weapon on hand was 
the 37-mm., and it continued in short 
supply. The Colt Company, swamped with 
demands on its small staff and plagued 
with labor trouble, had run into one pro- 
duction delay after another, and by De- 
cember 1941 had turned out only five 
hundred gun mechanisms. 43 

To reach high-flying planes the 90-mm. 
A A gun was adopted in February 1940, 
replacing the 3-inch. With requirements 

for the new gun totaling only 1 1 4 in the 
spring of 1940, Watertown was assigned 
the production of carriages and Watervliet 
the gun tubes. 44 In the fall, with require- 
ments soaring above the one thousand 
mark, invitations for bids on carriages were 
issued to a dozen companies. Because the 
90-mm. carriage was a new, difficult, and 
untried item, industry was reluctant to 
undertake its manufacture; only one con- 
cern, the York Safe and Lock Company, 
then making the 3-inch AA mount, entered 
a bid. As Ordnance considered the York 
price too high, another and more successful 

43 (1) PSP 29; (2) Memo, CofOrd for USW, 
19 Dec 41, sub: The Colt Patent Fire Arms Mfg 
Co., OO 472.54/6972. 

44 Memo, CofOrd for USW, 18 Mar 41, sub: 
Comparison of Prod Possibilities of British . . . 
and American . . , Guns, OO 472.93/1 961 . 



effort was made in October to attract 
bidders. Awards were then made to York, 
Allis-Chalmers, and Worthington Pump, 
with Watertown also taking on a portion 
of the total. The guns themselves were 
made only by Watervliet at the start, but 
private contractors were later brought into 
the picture, chief among them being the 
Chevrolet Division of General Motors Cor- 
poration (GMC), the Wheland Company, 
and the Oliver Farm Machinery Company. 
Production was not only slow to start be- 
cause of the need for factory conversion, 
but it fell below expectations. For the year 
1 941 it amounted to only 171 complete 
units, less than half of which had been 
assembled and proof fired. 4r> The lack of 
big A A guns worried Under Secretary 
Patterson. "If we get into a shooting war," 
he wrote in August 1941 , "the demand 
for weapons of these types will be pressing 
and immediate. Every city will be demand- 
ing antiaircraft guns, and there will be 
very few on hand." 46 

Aircraft Cannon 

The story of aircraft guns parallels that 
of the AA weapons. As the need had arisen 
in the late 1930's for an intermediate AA 
gun, so there came a demand for an air- 
craft weapon more powerful than the 
standard .50-caliber machine gun, but not 
as large as the 37-mm. After all known 
weapons in this intermediate range had 
been tested by Ordnance and the Air 
Corps, both services, in the spring of 1940, 
recommended adoption of the 20-mm. 
Hispano-Suiza gun known as Birkigt type 
404. 47 Thirty-three of these weapons had 
been purchased from the French owners in 
the winter of 1939-40, along with an 
option on manufacturing rights. In April 
and May 1940 Watervliet made drawings 

that could be used as a basis for competi- 
tive bids, thus avoiding delay in waiting 
for French drawings. Of three bids entered, 
the lowest was that by Bendix Aviation 
Corporation (Eclipse Machine Division), 
a firm that had been interested in the gun 
for several years. 48 In September 1940, 
even before a final contract for manufac- 
turing rights had been signed, Ordnance 
contracted with Bendix to make some 
1,200 guns (for Air Corps, Navy, and 
British) with Ordnance providing about 
$1 million for special tools, jogs, fixtures, 
and dies. 49 

Tooling up at the Bendix plant in El- 
mira, N. Y., was a long, slow process, partly 
because the gun (designated Mi and AN- 
M2 ) carried the relatively low priority 
rating of A-i-c throughout 1940. Water- 
vliet helped by leasing tools to Bendix, and 
after the fall of France tools ordered in the 
United States by the French government 
were diverted to Bendix, even after some 

45 (1) PSP 29, The Design, Development and 
Production of 90-mm. and 1 20-mm. AA Guns 
(May 1945), OHF; (2) Lt Walter G. Finch, 
Study of 90-mm. AA Gun, 19 Feb 42, OHF; (3) 
Memo, USW for CofOrd, 15 Nov 41, OO 472/ 

46 Memo, USW for Moore, 30 Aug 41, OUSW 
file !04, folder marked Guns, AT, Aircraft, and 
so on. 

47 ( i ) Ltr, CofAir Corps to CofOrd, 12 Apr 40, 
sub: Intermediate Aircraft Cannon, OO 
2105; (2) OCM 15739, 19 Apr 40 and OCM 
15827, 21 May 40; (3) Ltr, CofOrd to TAG, 23 
Oct S9, Purchase of 20-mm. Aircraft Cannon, copy 
in OHF Arty docs.; (4) Green, Thomson , and 
Roots, Planning Munitions for War, |ch. XV. | 

48 For correspondence with Bendix, see OO 
472.91, NA. 

49 For background of the Hispano-Suiza gun, 
see Chinn, op. cit., ch. 13. See also B. D. Barrow, 
Production of 20-mm. Automatic Guns, Mi and 
AN-M2, OHF, and Design, Development and 
Production of 20-mm. Guns, Mi an-i AN-M2 
(Nov 44), both in OHF. The latter study contain, 
copies of many pertinent documents. 



of them were on the high seas. 50 To meet 
the rising demand for guns for the Air 
Corps program, Ordnance brought three 
more producers into the picture in the 
spring of 1 941 * The Army and Navy Mu- 
nitions Board raised the priority rating to 
A-i-b, and eventually to A-i-a. Con- 
tracts were placed with the Oldsmobile Di- 
vision of GMC for nine thousand guns, 
with International Harvester for a like 
amount, and with Munitions Manufactur- 
ing Corporation of Poughkeepsie, N.Y., a 
wholly owned subsidiary of International 
Business Machines Corporation, for over 
thirteen thousand. All told, requirements 
for U.S. and British forces exceeded forty 
thousand, and the four contractors raced 
to get into production. Bendix, which had 
a head start, completed five weapons for 
test during the summer of 1941 and was 
ready for quantity production in Septem- 
ber, but production was temporarily de- 
layed because forgings were not available. 
After a few guns came off the line in Octo- 
ber, design changes in several parts delayed 
the start of volume production until No- 
vember. Meanwhile a trickle of production 
came from Oldsmobile and Munitions just 
before Pearl Harbor, and International 
Harvester came along early in 1942. 51 

With the 37-mm. aircraft gun there was 
no problem of foreign patents or drawings, 
but nevertheless production lagged behind 
requirements all during the defense period. 
The only source for this weapon was Colt's 
Patent Fire Arms Manufacturing Com- 
pany, owner of all the basic patents. An 
old, well established gun-making firm, Colt 
had started production with a small order 
in the winter of 1939-40. In August 1940 
Ordnance placed a new contract with Colt 
for production at the rate of two hundred 
units per month, at the same time author- 
izing expenditure of nearly $4 million for 

new machinery, dies, gages, and fixtures. 
In the spring of 1941 Ordnance foresaw 
difficulties in meeting the demand for 37- 
mm. guns and pleaded in vain for funds to 
establish a second producer." 2 Colt de- 
livered a few guns in March 1941, but 
throughout the rest of the year deliveries 
were disappointing and did not keep pace 
with production of P-39 planes/' 3 On the 
day after Pearl Harbor, Under Secretary 
Patterson, disturbed at the "apparent com- 
placency of the Colt Company," directed it 
and all its subcontractors to go on a 24- 
hour day, 7-day-week schedule until the 
shortage was overcome. 54 A few days later 
Patterson called upon General Wesson to 
"bring about promptly a change in man- 
agement in the Colt Plant." 55 General 
Wesson went to Hartford in person, made 
an appeal to the workers for increased 
production, and conferred at length with 
company officials. General Wesson knew 
that the company had taken on so much 
war work that it had spread its manage- 
ment dangerously thin. Confident that 

r, ° Hist, Rochester Ord Dist, XV, bk. II, 269- 

51 ( 1 ) Barrow, Prod of 20-mm. Automatic 
Guns: (a) Barrow, Design, Development, and 
Prod of ao-mm. Guns; {3) Hist, New York Ord 
Dist, 100, pt. 5, sec. a, IBM Corp, OHF; (4) 
Review of the Prod Plans of the Arty Div, OCO, 
4 Mar 43, p. 3. 

52 Memo, CofOrd to TAG, 5 May 41, sub: 37- 
mm. Automatic Cannon, AG 479.93/2299. 

53 Min, Wesson Confs, 16 Aug 41. 

54 (1) Memo, USW for Wesson, 8 Dec 41, sub: 
37-mm. Aircraft Gun, ExecO file; (2) Memo, 
USW for CofOrd, 15 Nov 41, OO 472/1084; (3) 
PSP 30, Design, Development and Production of 
37-mm. Gun, M4 (Nov 44), pt. a, OHF. 

55 (1) Memo, USW for CofOrd, 13 Dec 41, 
ExecO file M-Materiel-Cannon ; (2) Martin, 
Memo of conf at Colt Plant on 17 Dec 41, 19 Dec 
41, OO 472.91/1365; (3) Memo, CofOrd for 
USW, 19 Dec 41, sub: The Colt Patent Fire Arms 
Mfg Co., OUSW file 104, folder Guns, AT, and 
son on; (4) Memo, USW for Brig Gen Thomas 
J. Hayes, 22 Dec 41, same file. 



the company could overcome its difficul- 
ties, he decided against making a change 
in management, but offered help instead. 
He directed that Springfield Armory send 
Col, Elbert L, Ford and several production 
engineers and expediters to the Colt plant 
to help boost production. The results were 
gratifying. More than 6,000 guns were 
produced in calendar year 1942 as com- 
pared with 390 in 1 94 1. 

Tank and Antitank Guns 

Though destined soon to be replaced by 
more powerful weapons, the 37-mm. was 
the most important tank and antitank 
gun before Pearl Harbor, and was pro- 
duced in the largest quantities. As a tank 
gun the 37-mm. went into production at 
Watervliet in November 1938 with an or- 
der for eighteen pieces, followed in June 

1 939 by an order for some four hundred 
more. 56 These orders were awarded to 
Watervliet because that arsenal had taken 
an active part in developing the weapon, 
had manufactured the pilot models, and 
possessed both the equipment and the 
trained personnel for its production. After 
the first 18 guns were shipped in February 

1940 the production rate was gradually 
stepped up to 150 per month early in 1941. 
Meanwhile contracts for tank guns (M5) 
were placed in the summer of 1940 with 
United Shoe Machinery Corporation and 
National Pneumatic Company." Both 
concerns got into production quickly and 
between them completed delivery of over 
2,800 guns before Pearl Harbor, when they 
switched over to an improved model, the 
M6. Late in 1940 a contract for the M6 
gun had been placed with American Type 
Founders, which completed some 900 guns 
before the end of 1 94 1 . By the end of the 
year total output by Watervliet and the 

three contractors had passed the 5,000 
mark, but requirements, including several 
thousand guns for the British, had mean- 
while risen to nearly 35,ooo. 58 

As an antitank gun the 37-mm. went 
into production at the arsenals during the 
winter of 1939-40, Watervliet making the 
guns and Rock Island the carriages. 59 As 
early as April 1940 contracts were placed 
with the York Safe and Lock Company for 
both guns and carriages. Within a few 
weeks two other concerns signed up to 
make guns — the United Shoe Machinery 
Corporation and National Pneumatic Com- 
pany — and two others agreed to make 
carriages — Muncie Gear Works and Du- 
plex Printing Press Company, 60 But there 
was a wide gulf between signing contracts 
and delivering finished weapons. "Delivery 
of 37-mm. AT guns is very slow," reported 
G-4 in June 1940, "and it will be at 
least 18 months before the requirements 
for existing units will be filled." 61 

While the 37-mm. was being adopted for 
light tanks in the late 1930's, reports from 
abroad indicated the need for a more 
powerful weapon for medium tanks. By 
the spring of 1940 Ordnance had tested 
one medium tank with a 75-mm. howitzer 
in a sponson and with the 37-mm. as the 
secondary weapon in the turret. Soon 
thereafter a 75-mm. gun was hurriedly 

56 These were procured as field guns M3 
because the tank gun M5 had not yet been de- 

5T Hist, New York Ord Dist, 100, pt. 14. 

58 PSP a8, 37-mm. Guns M5 and M6, Design, 
Development, Production (Apr 45), OHF. 

59 See comments on this weapon by the Army 
Chief of Staff, Gen Malin Craig, in WDAB, H.R., 
1940, 24 Jan 39. An early Ordnance report on it 
appears in ltr, CofOrd to CofS, a Sep 37, sub: AT 
and AA Development, OO 472/3371. 

60 PSP 28. 

01 Memo, ACofS, G-4 for CofS, 1 1 Jun 40, sub: 
Sale of 75-mm guns, AG 47a (6-1 1-40). 



M3 Medium Tank Mounting a 75-mm. Gun delivered to the U.S. Army by the 
Chrysler Corporation. Standing in front of the tank from left: Brig. Gen. Adna R. Chaffee, 
Maj. Gen. Charles M. Wesson, and Mr. K. T. Keller. 

modified for the General Grant medium 
tank and adopted as standard. Although a 
makeshift, this arrangement was hailed in 

1940 as the only available answer to the 
threat of German armor, and by Septem- 
ber demands for 75-mm. tank guns 
reached the 2,500 mark. 

An order for 1,308 75-mm. tank guns 
was assigned to Watervliet in mid-July 
1940, and 9 months later the first com- 
pleted units were shipped. By September 

1 941 Watervliet was turning out 75-mm's. 
at the rate of one hundred per month, and 
had completed nearly one thousand by the 
end of the year. Meanwhile, as require- 
ments continued to rise, two commercial 
firms were given contracts in August and 
September of 1940, the Empire Ordnance 
Corporation of Philadelphia and the Cow- 

drey Machine Works of Fitchburg, Mass. 82 
Both were slow to get into production, 
and neither was regarded as a strong 
source. 63 Empire shipped its first guns in 
August 1 94 1 and Cowdrey in January 
1942. Just a week before Pearl Harbor, 
with total requirements rising above 
twenty thousand and guns lagging behind 
tank production, a third source was added, 
the Oldsmobile Division of General Motors 
Corporation. Watervliet carried the burden 
of production during the critical months 
of the emergency period, manufacturing 

92 The Cowdrey firm was soon taken over by 
American Type Founders, becoming its Cowdrey 
Machine Division. 

S3 Memo, USW for CofOrd, 15 Nov 41, OO 



1,000 of the 1,200 guns produced during 
1941* 4 

In the category of antitank and general 
field artillery weapons the change on the 
eve of war from the 75-mm. gun to the 
105-mm. howitzer slowed production tem- 
porarily. 85 Only 597 105's were delivered 
in 1 94 1 but nearly 10,000 were added in 
the next three years. In the fall of 1941 
slow deliveries of the 105-mm. howitzer 
were a cause of serious concern to the 
Secretary of War and the Chief of Field 
Artillery. Production of this weapon was 
hampered from the beginning by frequent 
changes in requirements, low priority (A- 
i-g at the start), and lack of essential 
machine tools. But by the end of the year 
production was at the rate of 250 per 
month. 88 

The larger weapons, the so-called medi- 
um and heavy artillery, were neglected 
during the defense period, as were self- 
propelled weapons. Only 65 155-mm. guns 
were built before Pearl Harbor. No 155- 
mm. howitzers, 4.5-inch guns, 8-inch guns, 
8-inch howitzers, or' 240-mm. howitzers 
were produced because Army planners 
considered them less useful than lighter 
weapons. Ordnance was not authorized to 
procure self-propelled artillery until the 
closing weeks of 1 94 1 . 67 

All told, the production figures for the 
defense period were discouraging. In the 
cold grey days following Pearl Harbor, the 
Chief of Ordnance had to report that dur- 
ing the preceding eighteen months of re- 
armament he had managed to procure only 
those artillery items listed in the accom- 
panying table. The quantities were ad- 
mittedly small. But to Ordnance officers 
the really important fact was not revealed 
in the statistics. That was the existence of 
production capacity — plants tooled up and 
manned for quantity production. By the 

end of 1 94 1 Ordnance had procured only 
small quantities of finished weapons but it 
had laid a solid foundation for volume 

production in 1942-43. (Table g) 

The First Year of War 

Within four weeks of the Pearl Harbor 
attack, President Roosevelt set new and 
challenging goals for artillery production. 88 

In his letter to the Secretary of War on 
3 January the President called specifically 
for delivery of 55,000 antiaircraft guns and 
18,900 antitank guns within two years. 
These goals were high, but the really big 
artillery requirements were only implied in 
the President's letter and in his state of the 

84 (i) PSP 38, III, 75-mm. Guns. Ma and M3, 
Design, Development and Production, OHF; (a) 
Memo, E. F. Johnson, OPM, for CofOrd, 12 Nov 
41, sub: 75-mm. Guns for Medium Tanks, ExecO 
file M-Materiel-Cannon. The Ma was standard- 
ized in May 194 1 and the M3 in June 1941. 

95 Typical of the thinking of the time is Ltr, 
CofFA to TAG, 28 Mar 40, sub: Use to be Made 
of 75-mm. Field Gun. . ., OO 381/34198, NA. 

68 (1) Memo, CofOrd for SW, 15 Oct 41, sub: 
Delays in 105-mm. howitzer program, ExecO file 
M-Materiel-Cannon ; (9) Memo, Brig Gen 
Hayes, Director ASF Prod Br, to USW, 13 Nov 
41, OUSW file, 104, folder marked Guns, AT, 
acf t and so on ; ( 3 ) Memo, CofFA for ACof S 
G-4, a6 Dec 41, sub: Prod of 105-mm. Howit- 
zers, OO 473.23/1269; (4) Memo, Col Burnett R. 
Olmsted for CofOrd, 21 Jan 42, sub: Status of 
Prod of 105. . ., ExecO file M-Materiel- 

87 ( 1) Memo, CofOrd for Deputy CofS, 20 Dec 
41, sub: SP Arty, OO 451/2846; (2) Memo, 
Deputy CofS for CofOrd, 20 Dec 41, sub: Ap- 
proval of and Expediting of SP Arty Projects, 
OHF. For an account of development of self- 
propelled artillery, see Green, Thomson, and 
Roots, Planning Munitions for War \ pages 3 1 4— 17TI 

68 Ltr, President to SW, 3 Jan 42, copy in OO 
472/12(8. The address on the state of the Union, 
6 Jan 42, in Public Papers and Addresses of 
Franklin D. Roosevelt, 194a Volume, Humanity 
on the Defensive, compiled by Samuel I. Rosen- 
man (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1950) pp. 


Table 9 — Artillery Production, 1 July 1940-31 December 1941 


20-mm. gun, aircraft. 

37-mm. gun, AT 

37-mm. gun, AA 

37-mm. gun, tank 

37-mm. gun, aircraft. 

75-mm. gun, AT 

75-mm. gun, tank 

75-mm. howitzer 

3-inch gun, field 

90-mm. gun, AA" 

105-mm. howitzer 

155-mm. gun 



Source: Extracted from MS draft, dated 9 Apr 52, of Procurement section, prepared by Richard H. Crawford and Lindsley F. 
■Cook under the direction of Theodore E. Whiting for Statistics. 

Union message on 6 January. These were 
the guns for 120,000 tanks and 145,000 
airplanes to be built during 1942-43. In 
mid-January 1942 the Artillery Division 
estimated that, to meet the President's 
program, it would have to procure during 
1942 alone some 200,000 artillery pieces, 
evenly divided between tank and aircraft 
types. 69 To Ordnance officers familiar with 
the complexities of gun manufacture, and 
keenly aware of the vast quantities of tools 
and materials needed, the task appeared 
impossible. But with the President's 
words still ringing in their ears — "Let no 
man say it cannot be done. It must be 
done. . . ." — they set about the task of 
planning new production schedules. 

The chief bottleneck at the start was the 
lack of machine tools, and the lack of tools 
stemmed from low priorities on artillery. 
During the last 6 months of 1941 Ord- 
nance artillery contractors had received 
only 1,363 tools out of a total national 
production of 80,000. 70 The first step 

taken by Ordnance to remedy this situa- 
tion after announcement of the President's 
"must program" was to request AA or 
A- 1 -a priority on needed tools and equip- 
ment. 71 The request brought higher rat- 
ings for a few selected items, but for 
months antitank and field artillery weapons 
continued to carry such low priorities that 
it was almost impossible to get deliveries of 
new took. Next Ordnance drew up a de- 
tailed tabulation of artillery requirements, 
placing opposite each item the name of 

99 Rpt of Prod Plans, Arty Div, Ind Serv, 18 
Jan 42. For an itemized list, see Overall Require- 
ments for War Munitions Program, 1 1 Feb 42, 
which called for 105,000 75-mm. tank guns, copy 
in OCO-Detroit file. 

70 Review . . . Arty Div, 4 Mar 42, p. 2. 

T1 (1) Memo USW for ANMB, 7 Jan 42, sub: 
Schedules for manufacture. . . , OO 472/1219; 
(2) Conclusions reached at a conf held in Wes- 
son's office, 7 Jan 42, ExecO file Materiel- 
Cannon; (3) Review Prod Plans of Arty Div, 4 
Mar 42, pp. 29-3 « • 



producing companies and needed produc- 
tion month by month. To every important 
prime contractor went a letter from Gen- 
eral Wesson stating exactly what each had 
to produce to meet the President's direc- 
tive. "We believe that if machine tools and 
materials come in exactly as wanted, this 
thing might be done," Col. Gordon M. 
Wells, Chief of the Artillery Division, re- 
ported in mid-February. "But on the basis 
of past experience it seems rather im- 
possible." 72 

Colonel Wells moved slowly in contract- 
ing for new plants because he did not 
want to spread too thin the few machine 
tools available. "We will get better and 
quicker results," he observed in mid- 
February, "by giving the tools to a few 
strong companies." 73 How to get pro- 
duction with the fewest new tools was a 
prime consideration in awarding all con- 
tracts. As a result, the firms under contract 
before Pearl Harbor continued as the back- 
bone of the artillery program throughout 
1942. There were increases in scheduled 
production, enlargement of plant capacity, 
and the enlistment of a few new producers 
but no wholesale additions to the pre- 
Pearl Harbor production base. 74 

Early in the defense period, contracts 
with industry were placed by the arsenals, 
under direction of the Chief of Ordnance ; 
but after the district offices built up their 
staffs more of this work flowed through 
them. 75 Beginning in January 1942, in 
order to decentralize more activities from 
Washington to the field, a Fire Control 
Sub-Office was created at Frankford Ar- 
senal, followed by similar offices at 
Watertown, Watervliet, and Rock Island. 
Responsible for production engineering, 
inspection standards, surveys of industrial 
capacity, cost analysis, and related matters, 
they served throughout the war. 78 

AA Guns 

Antiaircraft guns were the chief artillery 
problem in 1942. The first item on the 
President's AA list — 1,600 37-mm. weap- 
ons in 1942 — could easily be met by Colt, 
but the newer 40-mm. and 90-mm. guns 
were different matters. 77 The President's 
program required something like 300 per- 
cent expansion of rates previously planned 
for these weapons. Both were extremely 
difficult to manufacture and required hun- 
dreds of new tools. 78 The 40-mm. was in 
the hands of two strong producers, Chrys- 
ler and the Pontiac Division of General 
Motors, but Chrysler was just starting 
production in February 1942 and Pontiac, 
with a priority of A-i-d, found it could 
not get essential tools. 79 When the priority 
was raised to A-i-a Pontiac could still 
not get tools because it had no "urgency 
standing." In view of these facts, Ord- 

72 Rpt of Prod Plans of Arty Div, 13 Feb 42, 
pp. 1-2. 

73 Rpt Prod Plans, 13 Feb 42, p. 3. See also Rpt 
Prod Plans, 15 Sep 42, pp. C and D of Foreword. 

74 Ibid. This report, and others throughout the 
year 1942, list all major items and their producers. 

7 ^ Chapter II | above describes the roles of dis- 
tricts and arsenals in procurement. 

76 (1) Hist, Arty Div, I, pt. 3, ch. X, XI, XII, 
XIII; (2) ODO 231, 27 Jan 42, OHF; (3) His- 
tory, Cannon Sub-Office, Watervliet Arsenal, 9 
vols., OHF. 

77 For a detailed analysis of the 37-mm. as of a 
Jan 42, see History, Artillery Division, Volume 
102. More than a score of firms made important 
components of this weapon. 

78 ( 1 ) Review of the Prod Plans of the Arty Div, 
OCO, 4. Mar 42, summary; (2) Memo, USW for 
Gen Clay and Alfred R. Glancy, '30 May 42, ASF* 
Prod Div 472.93 AA Guns, Job 19B, dr 1867; (3) 
Memo, Brig Gen Lucius D. Clay for USW, 5 Jun 
42, ASF Prod Div, 472.93 AA Guns, Job 19B, dr 
G1867. For background on the 90-mm., see PSP 
29 (2 May 45), OHF. 

79 For correspondence on the urgent need for 
machine tools for AA gun production, see Memos 
in ASF Prod Div, 472.93 AA Guns Job 19B, dr 



nance recommended, and higher author- 
ities approved, that the 37-mm. gun be 
accepted as a substitute to make up the 
deficit in 40-mm. output. 80 

"This is one of the tightest jobs we 
have," commented General Knudsen when 
the 90-mm. AA gun came up at an ord- 
nance production conference in February 
1 942. 81 Watervliet was the only real pro- 
ducer at that time, turning out 120 per 
month and steadily increasing its output. 
Wheland was just reaching the production 
stage while Chevrolet and Oliver had only 
recently received contracts and were not 
expected to begin producing until near the 
end of the year. Ordnance estimated that 
only 3,650 guns would be produced during 
1942 against the President's goal of 
5,400. 82 As if this were not bad enough, 
output of carriages was lagging behind 
guns in spite of having Watertown Arsenal 
and seven commercial producers in the 
picture. None of the commercial firms was 
scheduled to reach production stage during 
the first half of the year, and most were 
expected to start producing only during 
the last three months of 1942. 

The 90-mm. carriage was a complicated 
item, very difficult to make. "There are so 
many different devices on that carriage," 
General Knudsen commented, "if you 
once set up for the whole job it will be as 
big as the Detroit Tank Arsenal." 83 It was 
also a newly developed item that experi- 
enced all the difficulties inherent in pro- 
duction of a complicated piece of new 
equipment. Some of the most competent 
firms in the heavy machinery field found 
difficulty in meeting prescribed tolerances 
and specifications. 84 The brightest spot in 
the picture was production of recoil 
mechanisms. In addition to Watertown Ar- 
senal, two old standbys, R. Hoe and Otis 
Elevator, were carrying the load for this 

component. Both concerns had got off to a 
head start through educational orders. The 
darkest spot was the director. Two strong 
sources, Sperry Gyroscope and Ford 
Motor, had contracts for directors for the 
90-mm., but Ford was behind schedule on 
tooling and Sperry was just starting to 
produce. An extremely complicated com- 
puting machine, the director contained 
thousands of parts, cost about $20,000, 
and required precision workmanship 
throughout. "I think this is our real choke 
item on the 90-mm. program," reported 
Colonel Wells in February 1942/" and it 
remained a choke item for many months. 
At the March production conference Ord- 
nance reported that it would probably be 
impossible to meet the President's directive 
on the 90-mm. unless extraordinary meas- 
ures were taken to grant it overriding 
priority. General Somervell pointed out 
that scheduled monthly production of AA 
guns would supply sixty-two AA regiments 
a month, "a terrific number of guns." 
When General Wesson, who had grave 
doubts about the need for so many 
90's, asked on what the President had 
based his directive, no one could answer. 
"I think what we ought to do," Donald 

80 (1) Review . . . Arty Div, 4 Mar 42, p. 10; 
(2) Memo, ACofS G-4 for CofOrd, 8 Mar 42, 
sub: 40-mm. AA guns, 0-4/23631-92, copy in 
OO 472.93/18. 

81 Mtg on review of prod plans of the Arty Div, 
OCO, 13 Feb 42, p. 11. 

82 (1) Ibid.; (2) Prod Ping Rpt, Arty Div, 9 
Feb 42, p. 27. 

83 Mtg on review of prod plans, Arty Div, OCO, 
13 Feb 42, p. 14. 

84 For an account of the 90's history, see Col 
Well's statement in Review . . . Arty Div, 2 1 May 
42, and also PSP 29, pp. 42-43. 

85 (1) Prod Ping Rpt, Arty Div, 9 Feb 42; (2) 
Review . . . Arty Div, 4 Mar 42, pp. 18-19; (3) 
Memo, CofOrd for CG ASF, 7 Oct 4a, sub: Rec- 
ommended Revisions in ASP. . ., OO 381/9948 



Nelson concluded, "is to review this in 
terms of its urgency in the picture . . . 
and then let's go back to the President and 
talk to him about it." 89 In less than a 
month the requirement was cut in half. 87 

Aircraft Guns 

Production of aircraft cannon easily kept 
pace with plane deliveries in 1942. With 
four facilities making the 20-mm. gun, 
Ordnance estimated that output for the 
year would total 67,000 pieces, more than 
enough for aircraft use though short of the 
Time Objective figure of 89,000. A recom- 
putation of requirements soon cut the lat- 
ter figure in half and turned the 20-mm. 
deficit into a surplus. The 37-mm. gun was 
also well ahead of plane output, so far 
ahead, in fact, that plans were made in 
March to convert some of Oldsmobile's 
production to 37-mm. AA guns. 88 

Tank and Antitank Guns 

Providing guns for all the tanks on the 
President's program meant building some 
66,000 during 1942, but in February the 
Artillery Division nevertheless reported 
that it expected to reach its goal. Reason- 
able production of 37-mm. guns by Water- 
vliet, United Shoe, National Pneumatic, 
American Type Founders, and York was 
calculated at 41,179 for the year. Produc- 
tion of the 75-mm. gun by Watervliet, 
Oldsmobile, Cowdrey, and Empire Ord- 
nance was expected to reach 26,172. The 
3-inch gun for the heavy tank, a new 
project, fell below requirements because 
the three producers, Vilter, Munitions, and 
Goodyear, had only A-i-d priorities and 
were unable to get tools. But the 3-inch 
was the least important of the tank weap- 
ons and caused no great concern. 88 

In spite of the hopeful outlook, guns 
lagged behind tanks all during the first 
half of 1942. The lag was not great if one 
counted every gun as soon as it came off 
the assembly line. But there was a delay of 
from ten to thirty days between completion 
of guns at the factory and their installation 
in tanks. This time was taken up in pack- 
ing, shipping to proving grounds, proof 
firing, transporting to tank arsenals, and 
finally installing the guns. At the end of 
April the Under Secretary called Ordnance 
to task because more than half the light 
tanks and two-thirds of all medium tanks 
with armored divisions had no guns. 90 
Ordnance immediately redoubled its efforts 
to speed proof firing and shipping. Hun- 
dreds of guns, intended for use with gyro- 
stabilizers and special mounts on light 
tanks, were installed instead on medium 
tanks without special mounts, 91 and by 
June the number of tanks and guns was 
fairly well balanced. 98 

88 (1) Review . . . Arty Div, 4 Mar 42, pp. 
20-22; (2) Memo, AGofS G-4 for CofOrd, 6 
Mar 42, sub: Presidential Objectives for 1942 and 
1943, and 1st Ind CofOrd to CG SOS 10 Mar 42, 
with 2 Inch. Copy attached to preceding docu- 

87 (1) Review . . . Arty Div, 18 Apr 42; (2) 
ASP sec. I, 6 Apr 42, copy in OCO-Detroit file. 

ss (1) Review of Prod Plans by the Arty Div, 
1942; (2) Memo, Maj Gen Thomas J. Hayes, for 
Lt Gen William S. Knudsen, 3 Jul 42, sub: June 
Prod of Important Arty Items, OO 400.12/729. 

89 (1) Review of prod plans, pp. lgff; (2) Prod 
Ping. Rpt. pp. 47-52; (3) Overall Rqmts for War 
Munitions Program, 1 1 Feb 42. 

60 ( t ) Memo, USW for Brig Gen Charles D. 
Young, ASF Proc and Dist Div, 26 Apr 42, USW 
file 104, Guns, and so on; (2) Review . . . Arty 
Div, 1 8 Apr 42. 

91 Memo, CG SOS for USW, 5 May 42, sub: 
Acceleration of Tank Armament, USW file 104, 
Guns, and so on. 

92 (1) Memo, Glancy, ASF Prod Br, for USW, 
8 Jun 42, sub: Progress of Tank Armament, USW 
file 104, Guns, and so on; (2) Rpt by Col Wells in 
Review . . . Arty Div, 21 May 42. 



Antitank guns formed a weak segment 
in the allied arsenal. 93 Production of the 
3 7 -mm. AT gun was halted in 1943 after 
nearly twenty thousand had been delivered. 
The more powerful but still inadequate 
57-mm. AT gun came into production in 
1942 and ran well ahead of schedule. It 
remained the one most important U.S. 
antitank gun throughout the war, total 
output exceeding sixteen thousand. The 
3-inch AT gun, after coming into produc- 
tion late in 1942, continued at a modest 
rate in 1943 and stopped in 1944. Ord- 
nance meanwhile labored to develop a 
fourth AT weapon, the high velocity 76- 
mm. gun, but failed to get it into produc- 
tion before the war ended. An even more 
powerful 90-mm. AT gun was approved for 
limited procurement in May 1944, but 
further tests revealed the need for design 
changes to correct structural weaknesses 
in the carriage. Of two hundred produced, 
only one was sent overseas before the war's 
end. 94 At least part of the lack in AT guns 
was made up by the introduction of power- 
ful and effective self-propelled weapons, 
often called tank destroyers or gun motor 
carriages. Most famous was the 105-mm. 
howitzer mounted on a medium tank 
chassis, nicknamed The Priest. After prov- 
ing its value to the British in defeating 
Rommel's armor in North Africa, the 1 05- 
mm. howitzer was followed by the 3-inch 
and 90-mm. guns, both mounted on medi- 
um tank chassis, the 76-mm. gun on a 
special carriage, and smaller pieces down to 
the 37-mm. 9s 

To provide mobile antitank defense, the 
57-mm. gun (formerly the British 6 
pounder) was mounted on a half track 
personnel carrier. Manufacture of this gun 
motor carriage was undertaken by the Dia- 
mond T Motor Company but, because of 
its limited tactical usefulness, less than one 

thousand were produced, and all were 
shipped to the British on lend-lease. These 
were clearly stop-gap weapons hurriedly 
designed to meet the threat of German 
armor. So was the 75-mm. gun motor 
carriage standardized late in 1941, the 
first piece of self-propelled artillery adopted 
by the U.S. Army in World War II. It 
consisted of a 75-mm. gun mounted on the 
standard half track personnel carrier and 
was manufactured in small quantities by 
Autocar. A companion weapon, the 75- 
mm. howitzer motor carriage, also utilized 
the half-track personnel carrier and was 
produced in small quantities by the White 
Motor Car Company. Another vehicle pro- 
duced by the White Company was a half- 
track carrier for the 81 -mm. mortar. 
Though standardized two full years before 
Pearl Harbor it was never in great de- 
mand. These weapons were not produced 
in large numbers because they lost out in 
competition with full-tracked antitank ve- 
hicles of greater power and cross-country 
maneuverability. 96 

Heavy mobile artillery and seacoast guns 
ran far behind schedule throughout 1942. 
Production of the 155-mm, howitzer 
scarcely got started because of its low 

93 Testimony on this score appears in Biennial 
Report of General George C. Marshall, the Chief 
of Staff of the United States Army to the Secre- 
tary of War, 1 July tg4$ to 30 June /045 (Wash- 
ington: 1946), p. 97. 

94 McHugh et al., Arty, p. 37. 

95 (1) Whiting, Statistics, Table PR-8; (a) 
Green, Thomson, and Roots, Planning Munitions 
for War, |pp. 314-17;) (3) McHugh, Arty, pp. 32- 

86 ( 1 ) Draft Project Report on Light Self- 
propelled Artillery prepared by Daniel Chase, Ord 
Hist Br, n.d. OHF; (2) TM 9-2800, Standard 
Military Vehicles, 1 Sep 43; (3) Catalog of 
Standard Ord Items, 1 Mar 44, Tank and Auto- 
motive Vehicles. The latter citation' gives numer- 
ous references to Ordnance Committee Minutes 
(OCM's) for each item. 


priority. Only 33 were delivered against a 
requirement of 452. "There never was a 
possibility of meeting the 1942 require- 
ment of 452 units, as we have pointed out 
on many occasions," General Wells re- 
ported in December 194a. 97 The 155-mm, 
gun and 240-mm. howitzer were in better 
shape but still behind schedule while the 
8-inch field gun barely met the year's 
requirement. The delay with all these 
weapons sprang from the combination of 
low priority and the need for elaborate 
equipment and preparation for produc- 
tion. 98 


Mortars, among the simplest weapons 
employed in World War II, caused no 
major production problems, though diver- 
sion of seamless steel tubing to Air Force 
contractors in September 1942 completely 
stopped production of 60-mm. mortars for 
a time. 00 Both of the two main types, the 
60-mm. and the 81 -mm., were foreign 
models purchased in the 1930's from the 
Edgar Brandt firm in France. Both were 
manufactured first at Watervliet and then 
by industry as rearmament got under way 
in 1939 and 1940. 

When the 60-mm. mortar was adopted 
in 1938, it was given the designation Mi. 
Ordnance bought eight mortars, with 
French production drawings, from the 
Brandt company. When Watervliet Ar- 
senal prepared production drawings of 
this weapon it adopted standard Ameri- 
can threads and made minor dimensional 
changes to suit tubes and plates of Ameri- 
can manufacture. To distinguish the 
French from the American model the latter 
was designated M2. 100 In January 1940 
the first production contract for 1,500 
mortars went to the Read Machinery Co. 


The Priest, a 105-mm. Howitzer 
Motor Carriage M7, passing through 
a town in Sicily, July 1943. 

97 Review of Prod Plans, Arty Div, 16 Dec 42. 

98 Memo, CofOrd for CG SOS, 7 Oct 42, sub: 
Recommended revisions in ASP Rqmts for Arty, 
OO 381/9948 Misc. For details on priorities, 
contractors, and production, see PSP 80, Medium 
Artillery Weapons, Design, Development and Pro- 
duction of the 155-mm. Howitzer and 4.5-inch 
Gun, OHF. 

90 ( 1 ) Production Progress and Production 
Scheduling, report by SOS to WPB, r Dec 42, 
p. 17, ASF 200.02; (2) Memo, CofOrd for CG 
SOS, 7 Oct 42, sub: Recommended Revisions in 
ASP. . . , OO 381/9948 Misc. For the develop- 
ment and use of mortars during and after World 
War I, see PSP 27, the Design, Development, and 
Production of Mortars, Feb 45, vol. 3, OHF, and 
the report of Board of Officers appointed by par. 
142, SO No. 289-0, WD, 1918 (hereafter cited as 
Westervelt Bd Rpt), 5 May 1919. 

100 (1) OCM 14273, 4 Feb 38; (2) OCM 
14421, 7 Apr 38; (3) OCM 151 18, 22 Jun 39; 
(4) OCM 15229, 27 Jun 39; (5) PSP 27, vol. 1, 



of York, Pennsylvania, and the Pullman- 
Standard Car Manufacturing Company 
signed a contract for the 8i-mm. As re- 
quirements for the 6o-mm. rose rapidly 
during 1940, Ordnance placed orders with 
a second producer, Kennedy-Van Saun 
Engineering and Manufacturing Company 
of Danville, Pennsylvania. Requirements 
dropped early in 1944 but by the fall of 
that year the demand for mortars in the 
European theater exceeded existing sup- 
plies. To meet the demand for 60-mm. 
mortars Ordnance took two steps; it or- 
dered Read and Kennedy- Van Saun to 
boost production, and it placed a contract 
with Firestone Tire and Rubber Company 
for 24,250. 101 Production for the first 
eight months of 1945 totaled 30,152, nearly 
equal to total production of the three 
preceding years. No similar crisis marked 
the 8 1 -mm. program. It moved along at a 
fairly even pace year after year, its require- 
ments and production following the general 
pattern set by the 60-mm. but with less 
extreme fluctuations. 102 

Of four new mortar models procured in 
1944 the smallest was a 60-mm. mortar 
that weighed only 19.5 pounds and could 
easily be carried and fired by one man. 
The largest was a powerful 155-mm. 
weapon that could easily be disassembled 
and transported to forward positions to 
provide the equivalent of divisional or 
corps artillery support. Between these ex- 
tremes were a lightweight 81 -mm. and a 
new 105-mm. mortar. 103 All were designed 
to meet the needs of troops in the South 
and Southwest Pacific Areas for mortars 
light enough to be carried forward through 
the jungle by infantry and yet powerful 
enough to blast prepared enemy positions 
at fairly long range. None of these new 
models was produced in large quantities 
and all remained limited procurement 

items with "T" designations. 104 The only 
real difficulty in manufacture arose from 
the fact that these new types were rushed 
into production before Watervliet had time 
to complete the manufacturing drawings. 
The contractors thus had to use research 
and development sketches at the outset, 
with the result that some of the early 
production mortars failed to pass proof 
firing tests. 

Over the Hump 

By the end of its first year of war Ord- 
nance could feel that, regardless of what 
the future might hold, it was over the 
hump in artillery production. The heavy 
investment in plant capacity made during 
1 94 1 and early 1942 was beginning to pay 
dividends, and output was steadily rising. 
Production of all types of artillery weapons 
during 1942 totaled some 160,000 pieces, 
distributed roughly as follows : 105 

Aircraft guns 68,114 

Antiaircraft guns l 4,5°9 

Tank guns and howitzers. 42)73' 

Self-propelled weapons 8,75 1 

Light field and AT weapons 20,536 

Mortars . . _ . . 10,160 

Heavy field artillery.. __. 647 

101 (1) PSP 27; {2) Rpt on Visit to ETO, 23 
Oct 44, by Christmas, Col Herbert R. White, and 
Col Theodore A. Weyher, par. 15, Incl to OO 
350.05/15609. For month by month developments, 
see Review of Prod Plans, Arty Div. 

102 Whiting, Statistics, Table PR-8. 

1 0:i Descript've data and photographs may be 
found in Limited Procurement Supplement to 
Catalog of Standard Ord Items and in PSP 27, 
vol. 2. The latter reference includes copies of rel- 
evant OCM's. 

11,4 Production of the 155-mm. totaled 244; the 
105-mm., 500; the 81-mm. (T27) 850; and the 
60-mm. (T18E6), 6,145. 

105 For detailed figures on types and models, see 
Whiting, Statistics. 



On the debit side Ordnance had to report 
that the Presidential goals for AA guns 
(40-mm. and 90-mm.) and for antitank 
guns (37-mm. and 3-inch) were not met. 
On the credit side, the figures showed 
that aircraft guns had kept well ahead of 
plane production all during the year, al- 
lowing some carryover to apply on the 
large 1943 requirements, and tank gun 
production had moved well ahead of tank 
output in the second half of the year. But 
more important than the President's ob- 
jectives was the Army Supply Program 
(ASP) that brought together all artillery 
items in a balanced statement of require- 
ments. On some items the ASP called for 
more than the Presidential directive, on 
others less, and it was revised several times 
during the year. As a result, no precise 
comparison of goals and achievements was 
possible. But output for the year, totaling 
roughly one billion dollars in value, was 
encouraging. The most serious deficiences 
in December were in directors and height 
finders for AA guns, other fire control 
items, 60-mm. mortars, and 155-mm. how- 
itzers. 1 " 6 

There was no difficulty in identifying the 
factors that had hindered artillery produc- 
tion most. They were the same problems 
that had plagued all other Ordnance 
procurement efforts — lack of machine 
tools and lack of raw or semifinished ma- 
terials. Throughout the nation there were 
too few machine tools to go around and 
Ordnance efforts to win higher priorities 
for its own materiel had been only mod- 
erately successful. In mid-summer of 1942, 
when it had become apparent that there 
was no immediate prospect of getting more 
tools, Ordnance decided to favor a few 
key gun plants where rapid expansion was 
most needed instead of assigning new tools 
to all contractors regardless of the urgency 

of their need. Plants making 40-mm. AA 
carriages and directors and 3-inch AT guns 
were put ahead of plants producing 57- 
mm. AT guns and 90-mm. AA guns and 
carriages, which were not as urgently 
needed by the middle of the year. Mean- 
while, the Ordnance district offices put 
pressure on prime contractors to subcon- 
tract work they could not do with their 
own tools. 

Each district formed a Machine-Tool 
Panel to help contractors solve their 
machine-tool problems. In January 1942 
General Campbell conferred at length with 
a machine-tool distributor from Philadel- 
phia, Mr. N. P. Lloyd, and evolved the 
idea of using industrial specialists to aid 
the Ordnance districts. 107 The Chicago dis- 
trict took the lead in forming a panel of 
machine-tool distributors familiar with the 
equipment in all plants within their busi- 
ness territory. The members served on a 
part-time basis and received no pay from 
the government, though they were reim- 
bursed for travel expenses. When a con- 
tractor drew up a list of the tools he felt 
he needed, and submitted it to the district 
office, the Machine-Tool Panel would re- 
view it, urge greater use of subcontracting, 
suggest substitute types of machines that 
were known to be available, or recommend 
the use of idle equipment in the area. In 
one instance a Machine-Tool Panel was 
able to reduce the number of new machine 
tools for a given schedule of production 
from 1 100 to 450. 108 Industry integration 
committees for the pooling of tools and 
materials also helped a great deal in the 
latter half of the year while a sharp cut- 

100 Review . . . Arty Div, 16 Dec 42. 

107 Campbell, op. ext., ch. 9. 

108 Winter, Analysis of World War II Prod 
Activities of the New York Ord Dist, 5 Sep 47, 
pp. 20-22. 



back in the Army Supply Program eased 
the pressure for production. 109 

As early as June 1942 Colonel Wells had 
reported that, more than any other factor, 
lack of materials would hold back' artil- 
lery production for 1942. The urgency of 
the need was dramatized by Watervliet's 
contribution to the national scrap drive 
of hundreds of tons of material, including 
iron fence, antique cannon, and large can- 
non balls that had been piled at the base of 
the arsenal flagpole since Civil War days. 
To the general materials shortage that 
affected all wartime production there was 
added for the artillery program the need 
for a wide range of semifinished materials, 
often in such small quantities that rolling 
mills and other suppliers were not inter- 
ested in them. 

There was no effective procedure for 
scheduling and balancing production of 
artillery components during 1941-42. The 
practice was to schedule all components 
for production in the shortest possible time, 
working plants at full capacity. Not until 
the end of 1942 did a system of scheduling 
for balanced production go into effect with 
creation of a Central Planning Committee 
in the Artillery Division. 110 

Production Techniques 

Of all the new or refined production 
techniques employed in making artillery 
during World War II, two may be taken 
as major advances — cold-working and cen- 
trifugal casting of gun tubes. Their 
novelty, it should be added, was not so 
much in the processes themselves as in 
their application to cannon manufacture 
on a large scale for the first time. 111 

Cold-Working (Autofrettage) 

In the nineteenth century Springfield 
Armory had adopted the practice of firing 

in each rifle barrel, before it was bored to 
final dimensions, a cartridge loaded far 
above normal pressure. The purpose was to 
discover defective barrels, but toward the 
end of the century it was discovered that, 
for some unknown reason, firing a high- 
pressure cartridge imparted greater elastic 
strength to the rifle barrel. At about the 
same time European designers were apply- 
ing the principle to large gun tubes by use 
of hydraulic pressure. During World 
War I, American Ordnance officers 
brought back to the United States reports 
on the European experience. Engineers at 
Watertown achieved some success during 
the ig2o's in applying the principle to 
big guns, using controlled hydraulic pres- 
sure up to 150,000 pounds per square 
inch within the bore. Tests established the 
fact that pressure high enough perma- 
nently to enlarge the bore strengthened 
the barrel by imprisoning internal com- 
pressions at the bore comparable to those 
created in a built-up gun when a heated 
jacket or hoop was slipped on the barrel 
or breech and allowed to cool, shrinking to 
a very tight fit. 112 As hydraulic pressure 
produced this effect without hoops it was 
sometimes described by the French term 
"autofrettage" meaning "self hooping." By 
subjecting gun tubes to pressures exceeding 

109 (1) Review . . . Arty Div, 16 Dec 42; (a) 
Memo, USW for McCloy, 23 Dec 42, sub: Super- 
heavy Arty, USW Guns, AT, Aircraft, and so on. 
See ch. 8 for description of industry integration 

1,0 Mead Comm. Report, OHF. 

111 Both processes are described in "World 
Leader in Gun Making" by Brig. Gen. Rolland W. 
Case, Army Ordnance, XXII, No. 129 (November 
-December 194 1 ), 359-61. 

112 Compare with Rodman guns cast around a 
water-cooled core in mid- 19th century. See also 
Hayes, op. cit., pp. 164-66, and Earl McFarland, 
Textbook of Ordnance and Gunnery (New York: 
J. W. Wiley and Son, 1929), pp. 180-84. 



any they would experience in service, it 
further served as a proof test. 113 Both 
Watertown and Watervliet were producing 
cold-worked tubes in quantity long before 
Pearl Harbor and continued to do so 
throughout World War II. 

Centrifugal Casting 

Though the first patent on casting in a 
rotary mold was issued in England early in 
the nineteenth century before the Ord- 
nance Department was created, application 
of the principle to gun production in the 
United States dates only from World 
War I and the years following. Long before 
1918 the centrifugal process had been used 
for commercial manufacture of pipes, 
piston rings, gear blanks, and thin-walled 
metal tubing, but Ordnance did not begin 
serious experimentation with centrifugal 
casting of cannon until 1925. In 19 18 an 
Ohio concern, the Paper and Textile Ma- 
chinery Company of Sandusky, had sub- 
mitted to Ordnance for examination three 
centrifugally cast steel cylinders and had 
been awarded a contract to build a ma- 
chine large enough to cast the [55-mm. 
howitzer tube. In 1925, after delivery of 
the machine, its use was energetically 
pushed by Brig. Gen. Tracy C. Dickson, 
commanding officer at Watertown from 
19 18 to 1932. During the experimental 
stages in the mid-20's Watertown made 
large numbers of castings under different 
conditions and gave the resulting guns 
every known metallurgical test. The exper- 
imental casting cylinder used at Watertown 
was fitted with glass end pieces to permit 
observation of the molten metal after it 
was poured into the whirling cylinder. 114 
By 1932, after years of experimental pro- 
duction, a member of the Watertown staff 
was able to report in a scientific journal 

that, "The manufacture of cannon from 
cast steel is an accomplished fact. Molten 
steel is poured into a revolving mold and 
shaped by centrifugal force to the shape of 
the mold. The result is a piece of ordnance 
superior in many ways to anything hereto- 
fore produced." 115 There were still many 
problems to be solved, and rejection rates 
remained high, but by 1940 the process 
was sufficiently developed to be ready for 
quantity production. 

During World War II centrifugally cast 
guns made a substantial contribution, 
starting with the small sizes and eventually 
working up to medium sizes. On 20 June 
1944 Watertown passed two landmarks in 
its production history: completion of its 
100,000th centrifugally cast gun tube, and 
installation of a new machine for casting 
heavy cannon weighing up to 10 tons. The 
centrifugal process not only resulted in 
speedy production and economy of mate- 
rial but produced a gun that, unlike the 
forged gun which was stronger lengthwise 
than crosswise, had uniform directional 
properties. Centrifugal force tended to 
drive impurities toward the center where 
they could be eliminated when the gun 
was bored, and to increase the specific 
gravity of the product. Economy, simplic- 
ity of manufacture, speed of production, 

113 Hist, Watertown Arsenal, vol. 102. This ref- 
erence contains an important technical paper, De- 
sign Data for Gun Tubes and High Pressure 
Vessels by Capt Donald H. Newhall. officer in 
charge of the Cold Work Section at Watertown 
before and during World War II. See also Hist, 
Watertown Arsenal, XV, pp. 6-7, and Hist, 
Watervliet Arsenal, I. 

114 History, Watertown Arsenal, vol. ioa. This 
reference gives a detailed account of centrifugal 
casting experience at Watertown, including nu- 
merous photographs. 

115 "Whirling Molten Steel to Make Gun Cast- 
ings" by 1st Lt Steven L. Conner, Scientific 
American, 147 (September 1932), 160. 



and greater uniformity of product — all 
these were virtues of centrifugal casting. 116 
In December 1 941 Ordnance placed 
contracts for two government-owned, 
contractor-operated plants to make gun 
tubes according to Watertown's centrifugal 
casting method. The Houston Tool Com- 
pany built and operated the Dickson Gun 
Plant in Houston, Texas, and the Ohio 
Steel Foundry Company operated the Ohio 
Gun Plant at Lima, Ohio. The latter 
arrangement was terminated in September 
1942 in view of the drastic reductions in 
the Army Supply Program, and the plant 
thereafter became the Lima Tank Depot. 
The Dickson plant continued in operation 
until the end of the war, turning out a 
total of more than 12,000 gun tubes, of 
which about half were for 105-mm. howit- 



The list of other new methods adopted 
for artillery production is almost endless. 
The work of the Firestone Company in 
redesigning the 40-mm. gun carriage has 
been noted above. The use on this carriage 
of welding to replace riveting was well in 
advance of the adoption of welding for 
tanks and proved to be the forerunner of 
a host of new applications for welding 
techniques. Employment of lathes that 
permitted simultaneous boring of the inside 
and machining of the outside of gun tubes 
saved valuable production time. 118 The 
use of seamless steel tubing for the smaller 
gun tubes and for recoil cylinders not only 
lightened the load on forging and casting 
plants but also saved time and material 
and gave a uniformly high quality product. 
With breech rings for the 90-mm. A A 
guns, casting instead of forging reduced 
machimng time and doubled the rate of 
production. 119 To speed output of optical 
instruments a new method was developed 
for casting optical glass in rods and bars 

from which could be cut small circular 
blanks ready to go on the lens-grinding 
machines. Formerly optical glass had been 
cast in large chunks from which slabs were 
cut and then gradually reduced to small 
circular blanks. In the long list of such 
cost-cutting, production-speeding tech- 
niques lay part of the secret of American 
industry's high-speed quantity production 
in World War II. 120 The whole process 
was in line with General Campbell's admo- 
nition to the District chiefs in December 
1944: "Make no compromise with quality 
and yet at the same time wherever we can 
let's cut out the monkey business." 121 

But there was another side of the pic- 
ture, too, with defects in production caus- 
ing much concern. When artillery weapons 
reached the proving ground for final test 
they often failed to pass. In spite of a 
vigorous campaign to tighten inspection, 
General Wells reported late in 1942 that 
"a lot of material is getting into the prov- 
ing grounds that has various things wrong 

118 Hist, Watertown Arsenal, vol. 102, including 
long extracts from Watertown Arsenal Rpts by 
Dickson, Capt Hugh C. Minton, Capt Scott B. 
Ritchie, and Lt Steven L. Conner during the 
ig2o's and 1930's and personal notes of Dr. J. L. 
Martin, superintendent of production. 

117 (r) History, Dickson Gun Plant, OHF; (2) 
History, Ohio Gun Plant, OHF. The latter con- 
tains a lengthy memorandum by Maj. Tracy 
Dickson, Jr., to OCO Historical Section, 31 De- 
cember 1943. 

118 William S. Knudsen, Lecture, Problems in 
War Production, 18 Jun 46, ICAF. 

11B (1) The Ordnance Digest, XXVII, No. 10 
(October 1945), p. 3; (2) Ordnance Reports for 
ASF Report on Logistics in World War II, 28 
Sep 45, SR 104, pp. 7-8, OHF. 

120 Artillery, 1 July 1940 to 31 August 1945, 
Ordnance historical monograph prepared under 
the direction of Brig Gen John K. Christmas by 
F. D. McHugh, C. B. Rosa and F. W. F. Gleason, 
pp. 74-80. 

121 Rpt Conf Dist Chiefs, Cleveland, 19 Dec 44, 
p. 105, OHF. 



with it. It's a critical situation." 122 Pres- 
sure to get out production sometimes led to 
unwise shortcuts that caused no end of 
trouble, while material accepted without 
inspection on the basis of the manufactur- 
er's certificate was sometimes found to be 
the source of defective parts. Constant 
efforts by Ordnance, under pressure from 
Army Service Forces, to reduce inspection 
forces probably also contributed to lower- 
ing of standards. The lack of inspection 
gage designs from which manufacturers 
could produce work gages and the neces- 
sity to find substitutes for critical or 
strategic materials and machine tools were 
the principal causes of the discrepancies. 

Fire Control Instruments 

Instruments for observing distant tar- 
gets, measuring distances, and aiming 
weapons — collectively known as fire control 
instruments — contributed greatly to the 
effective employment of U.S. artillery in 
World War II, but they were among the 
most troublesome items for Ordnance to 
procure. Ranging from relatively simple 
binoculars, telescopes, and quadrants to 
more complex items such as periscopes, 
panoramic telescopes, height finders, and 
range finders, and finally to enormously 
complicated directors for antiaircraft guns, 
they covered a wide area of manufacturing 
problems. Compared to standard guns and 
howitzers, which were themselves not sim- 
ple in construction, fire control instru- 
ments were generally more complicated, 
required more drawings, called for more 
different kinds of material* and demanded 
more exacting machining and more meticu- 
lous assembly operations. As the quantities 
required of the more complex instruments 
were relatively small, and the risks of 
production were great, manufacturers were 

usually reluctant to accept contracts for 
their production. Ordnance district repre- 
sentatives had to overcome this reluctance 
by meeting with industry executives and 
explaining to them the urgency of the 
Army's needs. The success of these efforts 
is indicated by the fact that from 1940 to 
1945 the value of fire control instruments 
produced by industry under Ordnance 
contracts exceeded $i,ooo,ooo,ooo. 123 

Frankford Arsenal had been the Ord- 
nance center for fire control research and 
procurement all during the interwar years 
and continued in that role throughout 
World War II. Because of lack of funds, 
progress in both research and procurement 
planning was slow during the peace years, 
but in 1939 the arsenal was enabled to 
place several educational orders with in- 
dustry for height finders, gunner's quad- 
rants, telescopes, and telescope mounts. 124 
Before much was accomplished on these 
orders the arsenal was faced in the fall of 
1940 with the need to replace them with 
quantity production contracts. Over-all di- 
rection of fire control procurement came 
from the Industrial Service in Washington, 
but the day-by-day work of placing con- 
tracts and expediting production was 

122 (1) Rpt Conf Dist Chiefs, Philadelphia, 8 
Oct 43, pp. 17-18; (a) Rpt Conf Ord Dist Chiefs, 
Springfield, Mass., 28 Jul 43, pp. 12-13; (3) Rpt 
Conf Ord Dist Chiefs, New York, 18 Jan 44, p. 20. 

123 (1) Hist, New York Ord Dist, vol. I, pt. 4, 
p. 465; (2) Hist, Arty Div, Ind Serv, OCO, 1940- 
45, vol I, pt. 2, ch. VII. For the research and de- 
velopment aspect, see Green, Thomson, and Roots, 
Planning Munitions for War, [pp. 333-45^ For a 
description of the manufacturing and inspection 
problems with fire control instruments see Inspec- 
tion and Quality Control, Problems and Solutions, 
PSP 13, Jun 45, vol. I, ch. 5, sec. 9 OHF, An ex- 
cellent summary of the development of AA weap- 
ons and fire control may be found in Special Text 
9-169, February 1953, The Ordnance School. 

124 For a list of these orders, see Hist, Arty Div, 
Ind Serv, OCO, 1940-45, vol. 3, ch. X, OHF. 



handled by Frankford Arsenal. Except on 
matters of inspection, the arsenal bypassed 
the District offices and dealt directly with 
contractors, justifying this action on the 
ground that the Districts, which were just 
then building up their staffs, lacked special- 
ized knowledge of the instruments and 
their production. As far back as 1930 the 
arsenal had stationed an officer, known as 
an Army Inspector of Ordnance, at the 
Sperry Gyroscope plant in Brooklyn, N.Y., 
and as time went on increased his juris- 
diction to include contracts with Keuffel 
and Esser, Eastman Kodak, and other 
concerns. Soon after Pearl Harbor, as the 
District offices gained strength and as Gen- 
eral Wesson moved to promote further 
decentralization of Ordnance procurement, 
a Fire Control Sub-Office was established 
at Frankford Arsenal with directions to 
transfer all Frankford Arsenal fire control 
contracts (then totaling about two hun- 
dred) to the appropriate districts for ad- 
ministration. 125 Production lagged far be- 
hind requirements during 1942, but the 
sharp cut in the Army Supply Program 
announced in November 1 942 reduced the 
gap between production and require- 
ments. 126 Meanwhile the quality of Ameri- 
can fire control materiel came in for a 
good deal of criticism from British forces in 
North Africa, who were equipped in part 
with American tanks and artillery, criticism 
that was soon echoed by U.S. troops who 
landed in North Africa in November 
1942. 127 

Of the three main categories of fire 
control instruments — binoculars and tele- 
scopes, range finders and height finders, 
and directors — the first was the least com- 
plicated and least subject to changes in de- 
sign, but it nevertheless posed difficult 
procurement problems. Early in 1 941, to 
meet an urgent requirement for 350,000 

binoculars, Ordnance took the unusual 
step of standardizing for military use a 
commercial design of the Bausch and Lomb 
Optical Company. This design closely ap- 
proximated the old World War I binocular, 
known as type EE, that was still standard. 
Other commercial models were also stand- 
ardized and produced in quantity for ship- 
ment to allies. But this policy soon proved 
to be a costly mistake. Designed for normal 
civilian use, the commercial binoculars 
failed to stand up under combat service 
where they were subjected to rough han- 
dling, submersion in water, and exposure to 
extremes of temperature. Using them was, 
in the words of one field commander, "like 
looking through two dirty milk bottles." 128 
The existence in the supply system of 
different types of binoculars with noninter- 
changeable parts also complicated spare 
parts supply and field maintenance. To 
remedy the situation a new military model 
was adopted early in 1943. 129 

With compasses, Ordnance followed the 
same policy with better luck. In 1941, 
while development of a more rugged in- 
strument to replace the standard compass 
used in World War I was under way, 
Ordnance examined a commercial compass 
known as the Brunton Pocket Transit. It 
was adopted late in 1941 and, with minor 
modifications, remained the standard Army 
compass throughout the war. 

When the Bausch and Lomb binocular 
was adopted in 1941 it was understood 

125 (1) ODO 231, 27 Jan 42; (2) Hist Arty 
Div, Ind Serv, OCO, vol. 3, ch. X. 

126 Review of Prod Plans, Arty Div, 16 Dec 42. 

127 PSP 13, ch. V, sec. 13. 

128 Interv with Maj Gen Orlando Ward, summer 

120 For details on this phase of the problem, see 
Encycloped : a of Army Ord Binoculars photo- 
lithographed at Frankford Arsenal, n.d., no au- 
thor, copy in OHF. 



that the Bausch and Lomb Company could 
not be counted on for large-scale produc- 
tion of binoculars because its resources 
were needed for more critical precision 
optical instruments. Ordnance therefore 
turned to the Nash-Kelvinator Company 
and the Mansfield, Ohio, works of the 
Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing 
Company. Neither firm had any experience 
in making optical instruments, nor any 
facilities for manufacture of optical ele- 
ments, but plant surveys had convinced 
Ordnance that the two concerns could 
readily adapt their equipment and build-- 
ings to binocular production. Optical ele- 
ments — lenses, prisms, windows, reticles, 
and other parts made of optical glass — 
were to be procured from optical glass 
manufacturers and turned over to Nash- 
Kelvinator and Westinghouse as govern- 
ment free issue materials. Production was 
slow to start. "We were told by old line 
binocular manufacturers," Westinghouse 
later reported, "that they questioned if we 
would ever be able to produce satisfactory 
binoculars, let alone produce them in the 
quantities called for under our contract." 
But by the first anniversary of Pearl Har- 
bor the two contractors were producing at 
the rate of 8,000 binoculars each per 
month. During 1943, the peak year for 
production, 245,672 were turned out, in- 
cluding both old and new models. 130 

Manufacture of panoramic telescopes by 
the camera works of the Mergenthaler- 
Linotype Company and the Eastman Ko- 
dak Company may be taken as a represen- 
tative sample of this special field of 
Ordnance procurement. As used for artil- 
lery fire control, the panoramic telescope 
was a periscopic instrument with a head 
that could be rotated to permit the ob- 
server to look in any direction without 
moving the eye piece. It was also, in the 

words of the Eastman company, "a pre- 
cision instrument manufactured to ex- 
tremely close tolerances." 131 Frankford 
Arsenal had made small quantities of the 
panoramic telescope Mi during the 1930's 
but its maximum capacity was only about 
10 per month. To develop an industrial 
source that might be called upon for 
quantity production in time of war, Ord- 
nance placed an educational order in May 
1940 with the Mergenthaler Company, 
which had signed an accepted schedule of 
production for panoramic telescopes in 
1939. The company followed arsenal 
methods to the letter, obtained good re- 
sults, and was soon asked to take on a 
quantity production order. 132 Meanwhile 
an improved model was adopted and a 
production contract placed with the East- 
man Company, which soon became the 
leading producer. 133 

Production of directors, the heart of 
most antiaircraft fire control, was far more 
difficult than production of binoculars, 
telescopes, or height finders, but Ordnance 
was fortunate in its selection of contrac- 
tors and made a good production record. 
The only director produced in large quan- 
tities was the M5, based on the British 
Kerrison predictor, for the 37-mm. and 
40-mm. guns, and the great majority of 
M5's were made by the Singer Manufac- 

130 (1) Ibid.; (2) Whiting, Statistics; (3) His- 
torical Data, Westinghouse Electric and Man- 
ufacturing Company, Mansfield, Ohio, in Hist, 
Cleveland Ord Dist, vol. too, pt. 4. 

131 Hist, Rochester Ord Dist,' vol. ioo, pt. 4, 
Eastman Kodak Co., p. 42, OHF. 

132 (1) Hist, New York Ord Dist, vol. I, pt. 2 
(1939-41), pp. 280-81, and vol. 100, pt. 2j (2) 
The Optical Industry by Capt Samuel M. Grafton, 
March 1945, in Hist, New York Ord Dist, vol. 
100, pt. 1. 

133 Eastman Kodak Co. Red of War Prod Ac- 
tivities for the Rochester Ord Dist, 1945, Hist, 
Rochester Ord Dist, vol. 100, pt. 4. 



turing Company of Elizabethport, N.J. 134 
As early as December 1940 Singer en- 
gineers had come to Frankford Arsenal to 
see the Kerrison predictor and study the 
problem of manufacturing it. They found 
that it was a 500-pound mechanism built 
with the precision of a wrist watch, care- 
fully assembled to make mathematical cal- 
culations that would show how the gun 
should be aimed to reach its target. Early 
in 1 94 1, after the director had been stand- 
ardized, Singer agreed to manufacture it at 
the rate of 1,700 per year, a rate that 
company officials then considered "over- 
whelming." 135 The company obtained 
drawings from Frankford, planned its work 
procedures, ordered over 1,300 new ma- 
chine tools, and erected a new building, 
completely air-conditioned. As Singer could 
find no satisfactory source for large quan- 
tities of aluminum and bronze castings it 
decided to convert its foundry from the 
production of cast iron to aluminum and 
bronze. The company used its other plants 
and subsidiaries to make packing chests, 
motors, small parts, and subassemblies. De- 
livery of eight directors to the Ordnance 
inspector in February 1 942 marked the end 
of the period of preparation and the be- 
ginning of the period of production. By 
mid-July 1942 the 1,000th director had 
been accepted, requirements were doubled 
and redoubled, and by 1 944, when produc- 
tion was curtailed in view of Allied air 
supremacy, Singer had made some 23,000. 

Procurement of optical elements, such as 
lenses, prisms, windows, reticles, and so 
forth, was one of the most difficult phases 
in the production of fire control instru- 
ments. The metal parts, known as optical 
components, posed far less difficult prob- 
lems. As the United States had always 
imported optical elements, chiefly from 
Germany, it had very little capacity for 

home production. In the New York Ord- 
nance District, for example, it was esti- 
mated in 1939 that total annual produc- 
tion of all optical element manufacturers in 
the district was less than $100,000. "The 
competition for optics," wrote one procure- 
ment officer, "almost resolved itself into a 
'free for all' between the Army, Navy and 
Air Corps, with the British Purchasing 
Commission interfering with all three." 136 
Because of the shortage of optical ele- 
ments, and the instrument makers' lack of 
experience in procuring them, Ordnance 
decided to procure optical elements from 
qualified producers and turn them over to 
instrument manufacturers as government 
free issue material. One of the most suc- 
cessful procurements under this policy 
flowed from a contract with the Optical 
Research Company of Long Island City. 
This concern produced most of the optical 
elements for the binoculars made by the 
Nash-Kelvinator Company and the West- 
inghouse Electric and Manufacturing Com- 
pany. As requirements for optical elemen+s 
mounted after Pearl Harbor and it became 
necessary to bring many small manufac- 
turers into production, Frankford Arsenal 
and the New York Ordnance District ar- 
ranged with the Mergenthaler-Linotype 

134 For description, see Catalog of Standard Ord 
Items, OHF. For the research and development 
background, see Green, Thomson, and Roots, 
Planning Munitions for War, |~pp. 4 1 6-2*7] Some 
2,500 of the larger M7 and M9 directors for the 
3-inch, 90-mm., and 4.7-inch guns were made by 
the Ford Motor Company and the Sperry Gyro- 
scope Company. 

135 Fire Control Director, M5, A Report to Army 
Service Forces, New York Ord Dist, by the Singer 
Mfg Co., prepared by W. A, Davidson, asst. vice 
president, 9 Jul 45, copy in Hist, New York Ord 
Dist, vol. 100, pt. 3, OHF. 

130 Capt Samuel M. Grafton, The Optical In- 
dustry, Mar 45, Hist, New York Ord Dist, vol. 100, 
pt. 1. 



Company to attempt an unusual experi- 
ment. Mergenthaler set up the U.S. 
Optical Supply Corporation, with an office 
in New York City, to provide centra] 
control of numerous contracts with small 
producers. Its officers were also officers of 
Mergenthaler, the parent company, and re- 
ceived no compensation for their services. 
Operating on a cost-plus-fixed-fee contract 
with the government, the company placed 
subcontracts with many small producers, 
helped them get into production, provided 
storage space for optical pressings, and 
eventually delivered some $4 million of 
material. It supplied nearly all the optical 
elements used by the Bulova Watch Com- 
pany in manufacturing tank telescopes. 137 
The Fire Control Sub-Office encouraged 
the optical glass industry by arranging 
for government financing of plant expan- 
sion and administering an optical machin- 
ery pool which procured some 1,000 ma- 
chines for use by optical glass producers. 
It arranged for the Corning Glass Works 
to build a government- owned, contractor- 
operated plant at Parkersburg, W.Va., and 
to operate a glass depot there. In October 
1943, when the coating of optics to im- 
prove the performance of instruments un- 
der poor lighting conditions was made 
mandatory, the Fire Control Sub-Office 
supervised the procurement of equipment 
and provided technical instruction to con- 
tractors on this difficult project. Similar 
action was taken after the introduction in 
December 1943 of thermosetting cements 
that increased the resistance of instru- 
ments to failure under extreme heat or 
cold. 138 

Changing Requirements and Types, 

During 1943, the peak year for artillery 
production, Ordnance arsenals and con- 

tractors produced something over 150,000 
weapons, of which roughly half were air- 
craft guns. The one item that bulked largest 
in 1943 output, nearly equal to all other 
artillery weapons combined, was the 20- 
mm. aircraft gun, which reached a 
production figure of 70,000 for the year. 
The next largest item on the list was the 
75-mm. tank gun with a total of something 
over 20,000. 

An analysis of the production figures for 
1943-44-45 reveals sharp fluctuations in 
requirements and the emergence of many 
new types as Allied forces pushed forward 
against the enemy on many fronts, em- 
ploying novel tactics and weapons. Aircraft 
and AA guns, which held the highest 
priority at the start of the war, were cut 
back in 1944, and their manufacture 
virtually came to a standstill early in 1945. 
Large-scale procurement of plastic 4.5- 
inch rocket launchers in 3-tube clusters 
began in February 1944 when contracts 
were placed with General Electric and 
Firestone. 139 The 37-mm. AA gun dropped 
out of the picture in 1944 and output of 
the 40-mm. declined sharply. Production of 
the 90-mm. AA gun, after reaching a peak 
of over 4,000 in 1943, dropped to 300 in 
1944, and stopped altogether by 1945. 
Meanwhile a new and more powerful AA 
weapon, the 120-mm. "Stratosphere" gun, 
came into production on a small scale — 
550 all told. Because it was extremely 
heavy and complex it saw little service 
overseas, and with the enemy on the de- 

137 (1) Grafton, op. cit.; (2) U.S. Optical Sup- 
ply Corporation by A. J. Mackay, president of 
U.S. Optical Supply Corporation, 6 July 1945, 
copy in Hist, New York Ord Dist, vol. 100, pt. t. 

138 History of Industrial Service, Artillery Divi- 
sion, vol. I, pt. 3, ch. X. 

139 Design, Development and Production of 
Launchers, Rocket, 3-Tube 4,5-inch, A.C. [Air- 
craft], Mio, M14, and M15, OHF. 



fensive in 1944-45, virtually no demands 
were heard for additional AA guns. 140 As 
Allied planes were armed primarily with 
.50-caliber machine guns — and a few with 
75-mm. cannon — output of intermediate 
aircraft weapons, 20-mm. and 37-mm., 
came to a standstill in 1944-45. AH told, 
output of aircraft guns dropped from over 
78,000 in 1943 to only 1,000 in 1945. 

In other categories the story was much 
the same with steadily declining output of 
tank guns, self-propelled weapons, and 
field guns. But within each category new 
or improved weapons forged ahead of older 
types. For tank armament the 90-mm. gun 
and the 105-mm. howitzer came into pro- 
duction in 1943 and rose to more than 
2,000 each in 1945, while the 76-mm. tank 
gun took first place on the list with more 
than 12,000 produced in 1944-45. 141 The 
37-mm. AT gun went out of production in 
1943 followed by the 3-inch in 1944. The 
4.5-inch gun which had been adopted in 
May 1942 as corps artillery was dropped 
in 1945, after 426 had been produced, 
because field commanders reported it could 
do nothing the 155-mm. howitzer could 
not do. 1 * 2 Self-propelled weapons did not 
come into production until 1942 but soon 
rose to a peak of over 13,000 in 1943. They 
dropped off to about 3,000 for 1944, and 
in 1945 new, larger types came on the 
scene, the 8-inch howitzer and 155-mm. 
gun, but all in very small numbers. Al- 
though the foregoing fluctuations in out- 
put were apparent in the individual cate- 
gories of artillery, production of all types 
of artille ry for the 1 940-45 period totaled 
5 1 9,03 1- KTable 10] 

Heavy Artillery 

From the very start of World War II 
most Ordnance officers were advocates of 

heavy artillery, a term that generally in- 
cluded weapons ranging from the 1 55-mm. 
gun (or the medium 155-mm. howitzer) to 
the 240-mm. howitzer, but their views were 
not shared by responsible Army plan- 
ners. 143 The General Staff and field com- 
manders felt that big guns, like heavy 
tanks, were not sufficiently mobile to coun- 
ter German fighting tactics and imposed a 
disproportionate burden on the nation's 
limited shipping resources. Though a few 
big guns were listed in the early estimates 
of Army needs, they carried a low priority 
and their manufacture proceeded at a 
snail's pace. 144 Then, during the winter of 
1942-43, even these small requirements 
were sharply cut in successive revisions of 
the Army Supply Program, partly because 
of the desire to conserve steel and partly 
because of the belief that heavy equip- 
ment, however valuable in Europe, would 
be altogether useless in jungle warfare in 
the Pacific. 145 Late in 1942 Lt. Gen. Lesley 
J. McNair, Commander of the Army 

140 (1) Memo, Maj Gen Barnes to Maj Gen 
Russell L. Maxwell, ACofS G-4, 8 Jan 45, G-4 
vol. II; (2) PSP ag. 

141 pgp i 05 _ mm . Howitzer M4, Design, Develop- 
ment and Production. 

142 Memo, CofOrd to Col Scott B. Ritchie, 
OCO, 13 Feb 45, ExecO file. On development 
and production of the 4.5, and its obsolescence, 
see PSP 80. 

148 For a detailed account, see The Design, De- 
velopment and Production of Heavy Mobile Ar- 
tillery Weapons and Ammunition, Oct 44, OHF. 
See also Millet t, Organization of the Army Service 
Forces, p. 117, and comments by Gen George C. 
Marshall in interview with Dr. Sidney T. Ma- 
thews and others, 25 July ig49, p. 5, extract in 

144 For an artilleryman's complaint, see Gapt. 
Trevor N. Dupuy, "For Men Only," in Field 
Artillery Journal, 32 (Sep 43), 708-19. 

119 (t) ASF Ann Rpt FY 1944, p. g6; (a) 
Memo, USW for McCloy, 23 Dec 4a, sub: Super- 
heavy Arty, USW 104 Guns, AT, aircraft, and so 



Table 10 — Summary of Artillery Production, 1940-1945 


Heavy field artillery 

Light field and AT weapons 

Tank guns and howitzers 

SP guns and howitzers 

Aircraft guns 

Antiaircraft guns 







Source: From Whiting, Statiitio, Table PR-8. 

Ground Forces, unsuccessfully urged pro- 
duction of 1 6-inch howitzers on railway 
gun mounts to supply the need for "super- 
heavy" artillery and in April 1943 criti- 
cized the Troop Basis for its lack of suffi- 
cient heavy artillery units. 146 In the spring 
of 1943 General Campbell made a strong 
plea for immediate approval of more heavy 
artillery, asserting that powerful guns 
would be needed to blast heavy concrete 
fortifications on the continent. "The bigger 
the weapon," he warned, "the longer it 
takes to get into production." 147 A small 
increase was authorized on 1 July 1943, 
but the gain was only temporary. In Jan- 
uary 1944, in February, and again in 
March, General Campbell protested against 
proposed new cuts, contending that once 
production was stopped it could not be 
resumed speedily at a later date if the 
need for heavy artillery should arise 
again. 148 But he meanwhile proceeded as 
directed to terminate contracts, and gave 
increased attention to manufacture of 

spare gun tubes and reworking of worn 
out tubes returned from overseas. 149 

Just as the curtailment orders were being 
carried out they were suddenly rescinded. 
Early in April ASF headquarters ordered 
that production of heavy artillery weapons 

146 Memo, McCloy for USW, 20 Dec 42, USW 
104 Guns, AT, aircraft, and so on. See also 
Greenfield, Wiley, and Palmer, Organization of 
Ground Combat Troops, pp. 178 and 233. 

147 Quoted in The Design, Development and 
Production of Heavy Mobile Artillery Weapons 
and Ammunition, p. 17. 

148 (1) Memo, GofOrd for CG ASF, 8 Jan 44, 
sub: Reduction in Heavy Arty Program, and 1st 
Indorsement, 12 Feb 44, OO 400.12/11812; (2) 
Memo, CofOrd for CG ASF, 14 Feb 44, copy in 
ASF Contl Div, 020 Ord; (3) Memo, CofOrd for 
CG ASF, 10 Mar 44, sub: Prod Capacity for 
Heavy Arty Materiel, and 1st Indorsement CG 
ASF to ACofS G-4, 1 a Mar 44, in folder marked 
6-Class V Supply in ASF Ping Div, Theater Br, 
Box 393, NA; (4) Memo, CofOrd for ASW, 26 
Mar 44, sub: Status of Heavy Field Arty, OO 
475/ '95 88 - 

149 Ann Rpt CofOrd FY 1944, p. 6. For the 
heavy artiller y ammunition side of the story, see 

I next chapter. | 



and ammunition be expedited, describing 
the project as of "high operational ur- 
gency." 150 The experience of the Italian 
campaign, where German artillery out- 
ranged that of the Allies, had proved the 
need for big guns. 151 In mid-May G-4 
issued the specific requirements, all adding 
up to enough weapons for 66 new battal- 
ions of medium and heavy artillery. 152 
Capacity that had been laboriously built 
up over a long period of time and then 
dismantled had now to be built up again. 
But to resume production took time, six 
months or more, depending on the circum- 
stances. One of the chief difficulties was 
that plant capacity released following the 
cutbacks had been taken over by the Navy 
and was no longer available to Ordnance. 
Further, contractors who had released 
their subcontractors could not win them 
back overnight. As a result, some artillery 
contracts had to be placed with firms that 
had never before made big guns for the 
Army. 153 Others had to be placed in labor 
shortage areas because of the lack else- 
where of forging and machining capac- 
ity. 1 '' 4 Meanwhile, as Allied troops fought 
their way inland after the 6 June 1944 
landings in France, General Eisenhower 
sent back an urgent request for more 
powerful antitank ammunition, more tanks 
with 90-mm. guns, and more 90-mm. self- 
propelled guns. 1 " 5 This request was given 
special priority and was merged with the 
intensive drive for heavy artillery produc- 
tion. 1156 At the same time the demand for 
spare gun tubes and recoil mechanisms rose 
steadily. The tremendously increased rate 
of fire after the invasion pushed the re- 
quirement for spare tubes in 1 944 to nearly 
4,000 as compared with actual delivery of 
only 323 in 1943. 157 

Output lagged behind requirements all 
during the winter of 1944-45. Then, just 

as it was about to catch up, the defeat of 
Germany brought an end to the need. 
Testifying before the Truman Committee 
in April 1945, Donald Nelson reported 
that, "the heavy artillery is going along as 
well as could possibly be expected." Then 
followed this interesting colloquy that may 
serve as a conclusion for one chapter: 

Mr. Nelson: On artillery, there are tre- 
mendously increased requirements. 

Senator Ferguson: Due mostly to 
changes in plan? 

Senator Truman: Due mostly to the fact 

159 Memo, Director ASF Prod Div for Br chiefs, 
6 Apr 44, sub: Expediting . . . Heavy Arty. . ., 
ASF Prod Div 47a Guns. See also Greenfield, 
Palmer, and Wiley, Organization of Ground Com- 
bat Troops, p. 235 ; Memo, ASF Director of Ma- 
teriel for CG ASF, 1 Apr 44, sub: Heavy FA 
Program, OHF; and Memo, CG ASF for CofOrd, 
2 Apr 44, same sub, OHF. 

151 Ltr, Col John G. Detwiler to Campbell, 4 
June 1945, OHF. 

132 (1) Memo, ACofS G-4 for CG ASF, 15 
May 44, sub: Proc . . . Arty, OO 400/12103; (2) 
Memo, CG ASF for CofOrd, 19 May 44, same 
sub, OO 400/12103. See also Robert R. Palmer, 
Bell I. Wiley, and WilHam R. Keast, The Procure- 
ment and Training of Ground Combat Troops, 
(Washington, 1948), p. 541. 

153 Memo, Col Ward E. Becker, WDGS G-4, for 
ACofS G-4, 29 May 44, sub: Rpt of Visit to 
Chicago, . . , G-4 file 472.2 vol. II. 

154 ASF Urgency Cir, 28 Aug 44, sub: Heavy 
Arty. . . , 300.5 ASF Urgency Cirs, ASF Prod 
Div, G1987. 

155 (1) Cable, Eisenhower for Marshall, 5 Jul 
44, ASF Prod Div 472 Guns; (2) Memo for rec- 
ord by Lt Col John A. Sargent, ASF Prod Serv 
Br, 8 Jul 44, same file. 

156 (,) YVPB Joint Operating Instruction No, 5, 
14 Jul 44, copy in ASF Prod Div 473 Gun Car- 
riages; (2) Memo, CG ASF for CofOrd, 10 Jul 
44, sub: Prod of Carriage, Motor, 90-mm. Gun, 
M36. . ., OO 400.12/12944; (3) Ltr, CofOrd to 
Arty Contractors, 18 Jul 44, OO 472/6157; (4) 
ASF Urgency Cir, a8 Aug 44, sub: Heavy Arty, 
ASF Prod Div, 300.5 ASF Urgency Cir, G1987. 

157 Hiland G. Batcheller, Critical Programs, a 
Report to the WPB, 14 Nov 44, WPB Doc. 315, 
p. 6, WPB file 210.3, NA. 



that they found out aircraft bombing 
could not take the place of artillery. 

Mr. Nelson : That is very true. 

Senator Hatch: This is one of the les- 
sons of war. 

Senator Ferguson: In other words, the 
dropping of the bomb didn't have the 
same effect as the shooting of the shell. 

Mr. Nelson: The Ordnance Department 
knew that from the very start. 

Senator Ferguson: And contended for 


Mr. Nelson: Contended for it; proved it 
mathematically in every way, shape, and 

Senator Truman: But you couldn't con- 
vince them except by experience. 158 

158 Hearings, Truman Comm., S., 78th Cong., 
ad sess., pt. 25, p. 10,884. 


Artillery Ammunition: Preparation 

The settled doctrine of U.S. Army field 
commanders in World War II was to pave 
the way for advancing foot soldiers by 
massed artillery fire and aerial bombing. 
Whenever possible, stubbornly held po- 
sitions were reduced at long range with 
steel and high explosives, not with frontal 
attacks by infantry columns. In the first 
two days of the March 1944 attack on 
Cassino, for example, U.S. artillery units 
fired something like eleven thousand tons 
of shells, accompanied by a hailstorm of 
bombs dropped by the Air Force. Similarly, 
landings on islands in the Pacific were 
regularly preceded by hours of methodical 
pounding from planes and surface vessels 
to destroy the enemy's strong points and 
drive him back from the beaches. During 
the attack on I wo Jima close to forty 
thousand tons of shells and bombs fell on 
its 8-square-mile area. In the European 
theater, in the single month of December 
1944, the total quantity of 105-mm. how- 
itzer ammunition fired exceeded three 
million rounds. In his diary kept during the 
Italian campaign Maj. Gen. John P. Lucas 
quoted a captured German medical officer 
as raving against the German command 
and saying, "You people expend artillery 
ammunition but mine expend only the 
bodies of men." 1 U.S. Army tactics helped 
achieve the all important goal of sure 
victory at minimum cost in American 

lives, but they ate up ammunition at a 
rate never before considered feasible. 2 

Massed fire power on the scale employed 
during World War II was utterly beyond 
the capability of the U.S. Army in the 
summer of 1940, or even as late as the 
summer of 1 94 1 . The stocks of ammunition 
on hand in 1940 were so meager that, in 
the words of Secretary of War Stimson, 
"We didn't have enough powder in the 
whole United States to last the men we 
now [ 1 943 ] have overseas for anything 
like a day's fighting." 3 Worse still, only a 

1 Maj Gen John P. Lucas, Diary, vol. II, Italy, 
5 Sep 43-1 Jan 44, OCMH. 

2 For ammunition statistics, see Ammunition 
Supply for the European and Mediterranean 
Theaters, 15 Aug 45, by ASF Contl Div, OHF. 
On the effect of artillery fire on U.S. casualties 
see Rpt, Director of Intelligence, ASF, n.d., sub: 
Report From AGF Board Report, 26 Nov 43, ASF 
Ping Div, Theater Br, Gen File 1 7, Lessons 
Learned, NA. 

3 Army Ordnance, XXIV, No. 137 (March- 
April, 1943), 275. For smokeless powder, the total 
capacity of the country in July 1940 was 60,000 
pounds per day, and for TNT, 25,000 pounds per 
day. Report re SR 7 1 in papers of Brig Gen John 
W. N. Schulz, Chief of Proc Br, OASW, 1940-41. 
See also detailed figures in Report on Explosives 
Capacity vs. Requirements, incl to Memo of Cof- 
Ord for USW, a Feb 43, no file number, carbon 
in OHF file, pp. 10-11. For earlier history, see 
Dorothy B. Howard, Disposition of Five DuPont 
Munitions Plants World War I, 1918-26, Histor- 
ical Study No. 77, U.S. Dept of Labor, Dec 44, 



handful of small plants were making pro- 
pellent powder and high explosives, and 
there were virtually no facilities for the 
mass loading and assembling of heavy am- 
munition. American industry was just be- 
ginning, through educational orders, to 
learn techniques for forging and machining 
shells and producing intricate fuze mechan- 
isms. The only sources for new artillery 
ammunition were Frankford and Picatinny 
Arsenals, while a few Ordnance depots 
were equipped to renovate old ammuni- 
tion. Private ammunition plants did not 
exist, and, because of the specialized na- 
ture of the process, there were no com- 
mercial plants that could be converted to 
ammunition production. 4 

A Government -Owned 
Ammunition Industry 

To meet this situation the Ordnance 
Department took steps in the summer of 
1940 to create something new in American 
economic life — a vast interlocking network 
of ammunition plants owned by the gov- 
ernment and operated by private industry. 
More than 60 of these GOCO (govern- 
ment-owned, contractor-operated ) plants 
were built between June 1940 and Decem- 
ber 1942. Representing a capital invest- 
ment of about $3 billion they produced a 
wide range of military chemicals, and they 
loaded millions of shells, bombs, grenades, 
rockets, and mines. The plants employed 
nearly a quarter of a million workers and 
covered a total land area equalling that of 
New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia com- 
bined. Their annual operating expense 
amounted to about $ 1 billion. 5 

It was this ammunition industry, spread 
widely throughout the Mississippi Valley, 
that accounted for the spectacular growth 
of the U.S. Army's fire power between 

1940 and 1943. From some of these quietly 
efficient plants, operated by competent in- 
dustrial firms, came smokeless powder and 
death-dealing high explosives. From count- 
less other privately owned plants — some as 
far away as New England — came shells, 
cartridge cases, fuzes, and related metal 
components. At still other government- 
owned plants, managed by concerns that 
in peacetime handled such products as 
soap, soft drinks, rubber tires, or breakfast 
food, the ammunition was loaded and as- 
sembled into complete rounds for shipment 
overseas. All along the line, inspectors 
checked each step in the process to assure 
high quality production. Total output for 
the 1940-45 period reached astronomical 
figures. The 105-mm. shells alone, if placed 
end to end, would have extended twice 
around the earth at the equator. The total 
for all types and sizes amounted to nearly 
one billion rounds, ranging from 20-mm. to 
240-mm., not counting over one hundred 
million grenades and mines, and over 
thirty-three million bombs and bomb clus- 
ters. 8 

4 For a listing of plants in existence in 1939-4.0 
for producing TNT, ammonium picrate, lead 
azide, mercury fulminate, and smokeless powder, 
see Ilsley, Facilities Program of the Ammo Div, 
Oct 44, vol. I, pp. 25-26, OHF, and Rpt of 
Comm. headed by Col Rutherford to ASW, 24 
Jun 40, sub: Proposed WD Program for Increas- 
ing Production Capacity. . . , Gen Burns' per- 
sonal file. Ammunition procurement policy is out- 
lined in PSP r, Contract Negotiation and 
Administration, Ord Dept, May 45, ch. 5a. 

5 (1) PSP 73, St. Louis Suboffice, Office of the 
Field Director of Ammunition Plants, Jul 45, by 
Ammo Div, Ind Serv, OCO, pp. 3-4, OHF; (2) 
Maj Edwin J. Grayson, PSP 18, The Establish- 
ment of the Artillery Ammunition Loading Pro- 
gram for World War II, Oct 45, OHF; (3) 
Historical Rpt by FDAP, vol. I, Gen Hist, 1 Aug 
42 to 30 Sep 45, p. 4, OHF; (4) Maj Gen Levin 
H. Campbell, Jr., Address before The Mile High 
Club, Denver, Colo., 2 Nov 43, OHF. 

fi Whiting, Statistics, Proc sec, pp. 48-52. 



Night Construction Operations in 1941 at Weldon Spring Ordnance Works, built for 
manufacture of high explosives. 

In terms of dollar value, artillery am- 
munition, bombs, and related items con- 
stituted the largest single element in the 
Ordnance procurement program. Ord- 
nance not only filled the ammunition needs 
of the Army, including the Air Force, but 
it supplied large quantities of bulk ex- 
plosives and complete rounds to the Navy 
and to lend-lease recipients. The value of 
artillery ammunition produced between 
Pearl Harbor and V-J Day was nearly $7 
billion at 1945 prices, and the value of 
bombs, mines, grenades, and pyrotechnics 
brought the total up to about $10 billion, 
or nearly one-third of all Ordnance pro- 
curement during World War II. The value 
of artillery ammunition procured by Ord- 
nance exceeded the combined total of all 
procurement by four of the other techni- 
cal services — Signal Corps, Transportation 
Corps, Chemical Warfare Service, and the 
Medical Department. It was over five times 

the total sales volume of General Motors 
Corporation in 1940. 7 

The complexity of ammunition procure- 
ment increased in geometric proportion to 
the number of weapons and the types of 
ammunition employed by each. There were 
only twenty different sizes of artillery shell 
used in World War II, but there were 
more than a dozen types of shell for each 
caliber. Artillery weapons were supplied 
not only with high explosive and armor 
piercing ammunition, but also with smoke, 
illuminating, and phosphorous shells. 
Some ammunition was stuffed with propa- 
ganda leaflets. All told, Ordnance pro- 
duced 270 types of artillery shell, and 
seventy different types and sizes of bombs. 

7 ( 1 ) Statistical Review, World War II, a Sum- 
mary of ASF Activities prepared by the Stat Br, 
Contl Div, ASF, n.d., p. 2; (2) Moody's Indus- 
trial Manuals, annuals published by Moody's 
Investors Service. 



The Anatomy of Ammunition Production 

To see the process of artillery ammuni- 
tion production in proper perspective it is 
necessary to take a round of ammunition 
apart and inspect its composition. There 
are five major elements in a complete 
round of high-explosive ammunition: the 
cartridge case, the projectile, the propel- 
lent powder, the high explosive, and the 
fuze mechanism. For bombs the princi- 
pal elements are the bomb body, explosive, 
fin, and fuze. In addition, there are many 
other small parts, such as the primer, 
booster, and adapter, all of which are es- 
sential but of lesser importance in terms of 
production volume. From the procure- 
ment point of view, all parts of a bomb or 
round of artillery ammunition naturally fall 
into two groups — metal components, and 
powder and explosives. In general, the 
metal components were procured from 
private industry, through the district offi- 
ces, using existing plant capacity; powder 
and explosives were produced in the main 
by the new GOCO plants under the direc- 
tion of the Ammunition Division of In- 
dustrial Service. After the elements of a 
shell had been produced there still remained 
the task of loading and assembling them 
into complete rounds at the loading plants, 
and inspecting them with care. A complete 
round of ammunition did not spring full- 
born from any one plant. It was, rather, 
the end product of a whole series of inter- 
related manufacturing operations in a host 
of different plants. The TNT came from 
one source, the smokeless powder from 
another, and the metal components from 
scores of widely separated factories. With 
the 105-mm. howitzer high-explosive shell, 
for example, it has' been estimated that the 
metal parts traveled over 10,000 miles from 
twelve Ordnance plants and works. 8 

Two additional features of ammunition 
production merit special note: the pre- 
cision work required on the metal compo- 
nents, and the hazardous nature of powder- 
making and ammunition loading. An artil- 
lery shell is a delicate and complicated 
mechanism packed with two death-dealing 
powder charges— smokeless powder in the 
case, and TNT or other high explosives in 
the shell. Both the brass case and the steel 
projectile must be formed to meet exact 
specifications. The fuze must be built with 
the precision of a fine watch and yet be 
strong enough to withstand violent shocks 
— and sure to function with split-second 
accuracy. Its sensitive detonator and boost- 
er charge must be assembled by skilled 
operators. Propellants and highly sensitive 
percussion primers must pass rigid inspec- 
tion tests to assure safety for the gun crew 
and uniformity in the flight of the projec- 
tiles round after round. The TNT or 
other high explosive must be loaded with 
extreme care, must remain safe to handle 
and store for long periods of time, and then 
must explode with terrific shattering effect 
at precisely the right moment. 

This type of work was obviously not for 
amateurs. Yet in 1940 there were only a 
half-dozen companies in the United States 
familiar with explosives manufacture, and 
their experienced personnel were few in 
number. These companies had but recently 
come through the "Merchants of Death" 
era when everyone connected with the 

8 (1) Lewis and Rosa, Ammo, pp. 56-57; (2) 
Memo, Col Francis H. Miles. Jr., for Chief Ind 
Serv, 31 Jan 41, sub: Monthly Progress Rpt of 
the Ammo Div, . . , filed as ex. 49, PSP 6, 7, 1 2, 
Ordnance Requirements and the Control of Pro- 
duction, Aug 45, by Maj Paul D. Olejar; (3) 
Testimony by Wesson and Col Rutherford, 35 Jul 
40, WDAB, H.R., 76th Cong., 3d sess., 2d Sup- 
plemental Appropriation Bill for 1941, pp. 192- 



manufacture of munitions had been pub- 
licly castigated. Nor did the Ordnance 
Department itself, with only 375 Regular 
Army officers in the summer of 1940, have 
very many officers or civilian engineers 
with more than elementary knowledge of 
ammunition production. Notable among 
these was Maj. John P. Harris, who in 
1937 had established the Wilmington, Del., 
suboffice to draw up plans for ammunition 
production and take counsel with the ex- 
plosives firms that had home offices in 
Wilmington. 9 

The Period of Plant Expansion, ig^o-^s 
Site Selection 

The selection of sites for new ammuni- 
tion plants was complicated by a variety of 
factors. At the outset, the policy of avoid- 
ing coastal areas in favor of the less vulner- 
able interior regions set certain broad 
limits, as did the need for avoiding, on 
grounds of safety, large centers of popula- 
tion. Next came a whole series of inter- 
related considerations, such as availability 
of water, manpower, electricity, railroads, 
and highways. There were strong political 
pressures always at work, and they some- 
times decided the issue in favor of the less 
desirable sites. 10 Mistakes were sometimes 
made in selecting sites as, for example, the 
choice of land in Illinois that had oil 
pipes under it. 11 Huge tracts of land were 
needed for both the explosives plants and 
the loading plants, not because the build- 
ings were large but because safety de- 
manded wide open areas between produc- 
tion lines and between storage areas. The 
Illinois Ordnance Plant, for example, with 
eight loading lines, covered an area of 
twenty-four thousand acres — about one 
and a half times the size of Manhattan 

Island. Within the Wolf Creek plant and 
its adjoining depot there were seventy-five 
miles of railroad track and 130 miles of 
highway. Whenever possible, plants were 
built on land that was not well suited for 
farming and could be purchased at reason- 
able cost. 12 Finally, Ordnance was re- 
quired to spread its new plants widely for 
reasons of security, with resultant increase 
in freight hauls between plants. "If we were 
a private concern," commented General 
Wesson in the spring of 1941, "we would 
have concentrated our plants so as to re- 
duce transportation but it has been neces- 
sary to yield to the demand to spread 
them out." 13 

9 ( 1 ) Itsley, Facilities Program of the Ammo 
Div, Oct 44, vol. I, p. 27; (2) Intervs with Brig 
Gen Merle H. Davis and Col John P. Harris dur- 
ing the summer of 1953; (3) Dir, Lt. Col. Alfred 
B. Quinton, Jr., High Explosives Manufacturing 
Plants, 20 Sep 39, copy in OHF. 

10 Interv with Col John P. Harris at Picatinny 
Arsenal, 19 Jun 53. Colonel Harris' testimony is 
borne out by History of Ohio River Ordnance 
Plant and History of Oklahoma Ordnance Plant. 
See also draft MS., Jesse A. Remington and 
Lenore Fine, The Corps of Engineers: Construc- 
tion in the United States, a volume in preparation 
in the series UNITED STATES ARMY IN 

11 Min of Second Mtg in Brig Gen Charles T. 
Harris, Jr.'s office. . . , 12 Feb 41, p, 12. OUSW 
Prod Div 185.6 Munitions Ord Plant Comm. 

12 (1) Lt. Col. Robert Ginsburgh, "Inland Sites 
for New Ammo Plants," American Machinist, 85 
(10 December 1941), 1281-82; (2) Hearings, 
Truman Comm., 17 Nov 41, pt. 9, p. 2906, 77 th 
Cong., 1st sess. For figures on land costs, see 
Quarterly Inventory of WD Owned, Sponsored 
and Leased Facilities, 31 Mar 45. For data on 
site selection and acquisition of land for loading 
plants, see PSP 18. Verbatim nvnutes of two con- 
ferences in February 1941 on sites may be found 
in OUSW Prod Div, 185.6 Munitions Ord Plant 
Comm. See also Maj John F. Joorfetz, Site Rpt, 
Mar 44, History of Ammunition Division, Ind 
Serv, OCO. 

13 (1) Min of Conf in Wesson's Office, 1 Apr 
41, relative to SR 71, OHF; (2) Testimony by 
Wesson and Col Rutherford, WDAB, H.R., 2d 
Supplemental Appropriation Bill for 1941, 76th 



The decision to avoid areas within two 
hundred miles of the nation's borders 
forced Ordnance to modify its mobilization 
plans for loading plants. In the 1930's the 
accepted plan for an emergency was to 
construct two different types known as 
First Phase and Second Phase plants. The 
former were to be built at existing Ord- 
nance depots such as Delaware, Nanse- 
mond, Raritan, Charleston, Savanna, and 
others. 14 It was believed that, on the ap- 
proach of a crisis, shipment of ammunition 
from these depots to troops in the field 
would release buildings that could readily 
be converted into ammunition loading 
plants in ninety days. These plants would 
supply the Initial Protective Force during 
the first stages of the emergency while 
Second Phase plants — large, newly con- 
structed plants — were being built. 15 This 
plan had to be abandoned in 1939-40 
because most of the depots were along the 
seacoast and were considered too vulner- 
able to air or sea attack. Further, some 
were near large cities such as Baltimore 
and Charleston. Another factor practically 
completed the wiping out of all plans for 
First Phase loading plants. This was the 
desire to minimize the effect of enemy air 
attacks by spreading plants out over very 
large areas, with such great distances be- 
tween lines that a bomb dropped on one 
line would not destroy the entire plant. 
The effect of this decision was to double 
the distances previously planned between 
loading lines, and increase the total area 
and total cost of all plants. It also contrib- 
uted materially to the remarkable safety 
record made by Ordnance in World 
War II. 1 * 

Gong., 3d sess., pp. 192-212. For a readable and 
informing story of site selection and plant con- 
struction, see William P. Vogel, Jr., Kingsbury: 
A Venture in Teamwork (New York: Todd and 
Brown, 1 946 ) . 

The location of ammonia plants de- 
mands at least brief mention, for it intro- 
duced a permanent shift in the geographic 
center of the ammonia industry. Before the 
war, when ammonia was made chiefly 
from coal, the plants were built in coal- 
producing areas, generally near the coke 
ovens. Some industrial chemists and Ord- 
nance officers, particularly Maj. John P. 
Harris, were convinced that in time of war 
enough ammonia for the mass production 
of explosives and smokeless powder could 
never be produced from coal. 17 The pre- 
1 940 Ordnance plans therefore called for 
the production of ammonia from natural 
gas and the location of new ammonia 
plants in the Southwest rather than in. 
the Pennsylvania-West Virginia-Kentucky 
coal region. "People told me I was crazy 

14 A list of proposed plants appears in Memo, 
Col Lucian D. Booth, Ammo Div, 3 Jan 39, sub: 
General Data Regarding . . . Plans for Ammo in 
an Emergency, copy in OHF. The background 
planning is described in PSP 18. 

1 5 Dir, War Plans for Loading Ammunition, 
WDPMP 1939 Augmented, 21 Mar 40, by Brig 
Gen Charles T. Harris, Jr., OHF. 

16 Revised Requirements for Sites for Second- 
Phase Ammo Loading Plants, 15 Jun 40, copy in 
OHF. An excellent and authoritative presentation 
of this whole phase of the history of loading 
plants is to be found in part II of a report, 
Powder, Explosives, and Loading Capacity vs. Re- 
quirements, inclosure to ltr, CofOrd to USW, 18 
Feb 43, sub: Report on Powder, Explosives and 
Loading Capacity, pt. II, 18 Feb 43, copy in OO 
675/889 Misc Incl file. See also PSP 18. In 1939- 
40, two loading lines were built at Savanna 
Ordnance Depot in Illinois and proved valuable 
in correcting faults in design and construction. 
Two minor caliber lines were also built on land 
adjacent to the Ogden Ordnance Depot in Utah. 
See also Gen Rpt on Bag and Shell Loading, 4 
Jan 44, in files of War Projects Unit, Bureau of 
the Budget, ExecO of the President, copy in OHF. 

17 (1) Interv with Col John P. Harris, 19 Jun 
53; (2) History, Dixie Ordnance Works, vol I, 
OHF. The latter reference tells of the early in- 
terest of the Commercial Solvents Corporation in 
this matter. 



when I proposed the idea," Harris de- 
clared, "but it succeeded and today all the 
ammonia producers use natural gas." 18 
Four ammonia works — Cactus (Tex.), 
Dixie (La.), Missouri (Mo.) and Ozark 
(Ark.) — were built to utilize natural gas as 
their basic raw material. Three other am- 
monia works — Buckeye (Ohio), Jayhawk 
(Kans.), and Morgantown (W.Va.) — 
continued to make ammonia from coal. 

The Construction Phase 

Construction of new plants was man- 
aged by the Quartermaster Corps until 16 
December 1941 when this responsibility 
was transferred to the Corps of Engineers. 
War Department plans provided that the 
service responsible for plant construction 
should select the construction contractor 
while Ordnance would choose the operat- 
ing contractor. In most cases the operat- 
ing firm helped design the plant, and in 
some instances served also as the construc- 
tion contractor. To speed work and avoid 
protracted negotiations that would be 
required for fixed-price contracts, the 
Quartermaster Corps and Corps of En- 
gineers used cost-plus-fixed-fee contracts 
with results that led to sharp criticism by 
committees of Congress. 19 The criticism 
may have been unwarranted, as the 
Quartermaster Corps and Corps of En- 
gineers contended, but its publication left 
many people with the erroneous impression 
that the Ordnance Department was at 
fault. 20 

The expansion program began on a 
rather modest scale in the summer of 1940 
when contracts were left for two smokeless 
powder plants (Radford and Indiana), one 
TNT plant (Kankakee), and one shell 
and bomb loading plant (Ravenna). 21 A 
few weeks later another loading plant (El- 

wood) for shells and bombs was added. 
Twice during the latter part of 1940 the 
capacity of the Indiana plant was raised, 
bringing the total up to three times the 
original plan and boosting the cost to more 
than one hundred million. In October con- 
struction started on the Baytown Ord- 
nance Works in Texas for the production 
of toluene, basic chemical needed for TNT, 
using a process recently developed by in- 
dustry with Ordnance support and en- 
couragement. 22 The British meanwhile 
(August 1940) contracted with the Du- 
Pont Company to build a large smokeless 
powder plant (later named Chickasaw 
Ordnance Works) at Millington, Tennes- 
see, and Ordnance in October 1940 signed 
a contract with the Lansdowne Steel and 

18 Interv with Col John P. Harris, 19 Jun 53. 
See also Campbell, The Industry-Ordnance Team, 
pp. 259-60. 

19 ( 1 ) Interim Gen Rpt, Comm. on Mil Affairs, 
H.R., 77th Cong., 2d Sess., H.R. Rpt 2272, 23 
Jun 42, pp. 5-6; (2) S. Rpt No. 480, pt. 5, 15 
Jan 42, pp. 232-74, 77th Cong., 2d sess. For 
Campbell's personal account of the plant con- 
struction phase, see The Industry-Ordnance Team, 
ch. 7. For a frank discussion of the matter within 
Ordnance, see Min of Conf in Wesson's Office, i 
Apr 41, Relative to SR 71, OHF. The legal back- 
ground for COCO plants is sketched by Col. 
Irving A. Duffy in Memo for CofOrd, 24 Mar 42, 
sub: Background and Status of New GOCO 
Facilities. . . , OHF. The official history of each 
plant gives detailed information on a wide range 
of topics. 

20 Smith, Army and Economic Mobilization, ch. 
XII. For the viewpoint of the Corps of Engineers 
historians, see Remington and Fine, Construction 
in the United States, Chapter VIII. 

21 For Ordnance plans for new facilities as they 
existed in the spring of 1940, see Memo, CofOrd 
for ASW, 6 May 40, sub: Additional Facil- 
ities. . . , OO 381/35763 ASW. See also Rpt on 
Explosives Capacity vs. Rqmts, and Memo, ASW 
for SW, 29 Aug 40, sub: Time Schedule of Mu- 
nitions Prod. . . , Gen Burns' personal file. 

22 For a detailed account of this project, see 
Toluene for War, OHF. Baytown was built near 
the Gulf Coast because it had to be near the 
Humble Oil Company refinery. 



Iron Company to build a plant in Alabama 
for forging and machining 105-mm. shells. 
The Gadsden Ordnance plant, as it was 
known, was the only GOCO plant that 
produced metal components for ammuni- 

During 1941 the expansion program 
rapidly gained momentum as work on 
twenty-five new plants began and the 
capacity of existing plants was greatly 
increased. Broadly speaking, these plants 
were intended to raise production capacity 
to the level required for a 4,000,000-man 
Army. 23 Thirteen of the new plants were 
designed for loading operations — eight for 
bomb and shell loading, four for bag load- 
ing, and one for loading fuzes and boosters. 
Five of the new plants produced ammonia, 
three TNT, two smokeless powder, one 
oleum, and one ammonium picrate. In 
addition, Ordnance took over the British 
smokeless powder plant at Millington, Ten- 
nessee, following enactment of the Lend- 
Lease Act in March 1941, but output of 
the plant continued to go to the British. 
After Pearl Harbor the program was 
doubled, with construction starting on 25 
new plants between January and August 
1942. Ten were for loading bombs, shells, 
fuzes, boosters, detonators, and primers. 
Six were for TNT, two for a newer and 
more powerful explosive known as RDX, 
two for smokeless powder, and the remain- 
ing five for ammonia, magnesium, and am- 
monium picrate. 24 

Erection of the new facilities is some- 
times described as coming in a series of 
waves, each wave forming a balanced array 
of lines for producing smokeless powder, 
TNT, and auxiliary chemicals, and for 
loading and assembling complete rounds. 
But the actual construction of the plants 
did not fall into any such neat pattern. 
The expansion moved forward rather un- 

evenly along a wide front, beginning with 
Indiana and Radford in the fall of 1940 
and ending in the late summer of 1942 
with Holston and Sunflower. The goal was 
always to achieve balanced production as 
soon as possible, but the task of keeping 
production in balance was never easy, 
though it was simplified somewhat by con- 
struction of multiple-purpose plants. 

In most cases, Ordnance plants turned 
out more than one product or performed 
more than one function. The Badger Ord- 
nance Works, for example, was originally 
intended to provide only three smokeless 
powder lines, but the contract was revised 
to add double-base powder and TNT. The 
Illinois Ordnance Plant went into operation 
in June 1942 with production of per- 
cussion primers, but it was soon producing 
detonators, assembling fuzes, and loading 
boosters for 155-mm. shells. The use of 
such multiple-purpose facilities gave the 
program a flexibility it would otherwise 
have lacked. Flexibility was essential, for 
the situation was never static. As re- 
quirements rose or fell, or shifted from one 
type of ammunition to another, production 
lines had to be shut down, new lines 

23 The Ordnance plan for 17 of these plants 
may be found in Memo, CofOrd for ASW, 28 Dec 
40, sub: Funds Required for Additional Facili- 
ties, OO 381/15444 ASW. See also Memo, Col. 
Miles, for Chief of .Ind Serv, 31 Jan 41, sub: 
Monthly Progress Rpt of the Ammo Div. The 
early plants were designed to last for many years, 
but the later plants were of less durable con- 

24 The complexity of the Ordnance powder and 
explosives program is suggested by the fact that 
30 chemicals, including raw materials, intermedi- 
ate materials, and end products were manu- 
factured at Ordnance works. For detailed 
information, see PSP 15, Chemicals Used in the 
Powder and Explosives Program in World War II, 
1945, OHF. For the new plants proposed by 
Secretary Patterson on a Jan 4 a, see Incl to 
Memo of that date for Knudsen, OUSW Madigan 
file (Ord Gen). 



added, or entire plants taken out of pro- 
duction. For example, because of a drop 
in requirements, the large bag-loading 
plant at Flora, Mississippi, was not needed 
in the summer of 1942, when it was near- 
ing completion; it was converted into a 
Unit Training Center until 1945 when 
need for it arose in the heavy ammunition 
program. 25 

For many reasons, precision in planning 
plant expansion in 1941-42 proved to be 
impossible. Requirements fluctuated from 
month to month. No one could predict 
exactly how long it would take to build a 
new plant, for it depended on such factors 
as weather, labor supply, and deliveries of 
materials and production equipment. Im- 
provements in techniques boosted the rate 
of production in many plants and com- 
pletely invalidated the original estimates of 
plant capacity. Construction of a number 
of plants and new operating lines author- 
ized after Pearl Harbor were canceled late 
in 1942 as requirements dropped and exist- 
ing plants reached unexpectedly high pro- 
duction levels. 26 

New facilities were never created as fast 
as Ordnance officers thought they should 
be. Of twenty-three new loading plants 
built in the 1940-42 period, the average 
time required for construction was nine 
months. 27 A constant source of delay was 
the interval between the time the need for 
new capacity was foreseen and the time 
funds became available. After that, ap- 
proval by higher authorities of both sites 
and projects was often slow in coming, for 
it demanded co-ordination with The 
Quartermaster General, the Judge Advo- 
cate General, the Site Board appointed by 
the Assistant Secretary of War, the Na- 
tional Defense Advisory Commission, the 
Bureau of the Budget, and the President 
himself. Aggressive action was necessary to 

push urgent projects through this laby- 
rinth of offices in anything like reasonable 
time. The division of authority between 
Ordnance and the QMC on construction 
came in for particularly vehement criticism 
by Ordnance officers. 28 

The Operating Contractors 

To meet the 1940 emergency Ordnance 
adopted the policy of placing contracts for 
operation of new TNT and smokeless 
powder plants with established explosives 
manufacturers, chiefly the DuPont, Atlas, 
Hercules, and Trojan companies. Their 
staffs were "stretched to the breaking 
point" to man the new plants. 29 For 
auxiliary chemicals such as anhydrous am- 
monia, toluene, oleum, and ammonium 
picrate, contracts were made with indus- 
trial chemical firms and with oil refining 
companies. To operate the loading plants 
it was necessary to bring in companies 

25 For a list of specific cancellations, see Ilsley, 
Facilities Program of the Ammo Div, Oct 44, vol. 

I. PP- 158-59' 

26 (1) Rpt on Explosives Capacity vs. Rqrnts, 
pp. 13-44; (2) Memo, Maj Gen Lucius D. Clay, 
ASF Director of Materiel, for USW, 10 Jul 43, 
sub: Ord Plant Data for the H.R. Mil Affairs 
Comm., printed in Second Gen Rpt of H.R. 
Comm. on Mil Affairs, 78th Cong., 2d sess., H.R. 
Rpt No. 1 903 ex. F. 

27 Table No. 1 in Gen Rpt on Bag and Shell 
Loading, 4 Jan 44. 

28 (1) For an outline of approval procedures, 
see Campbell, op. cit., pp. 105-106. See also (a) 
Memo, CofOrd for ASW, 13 Aug 40, OO 400.- 
12/234; (3) Rpt on Explosives Capacity vs. 
Rqmts, op. cit., and (4) Ilsley, Facilities Program 
of the Ammo Div, Oct 44, vol. I, p. 24. (5) See 
Remington and Fine, Construction, ch. 8. 

20 Development of Production Capacity in the 
Ordnance Department, PSP 8 [1945], pp. 2-3. 
For a good, brief description of the expansion, see 
Rpt on Explosives Capacity vs. Requirements. 
These reports have been supplemented by numer- 
ous interviews with officers and civilians who were 
in charge of the expansion program. 



with no previous experience in handling 
explosives or related chemicals. The 
Quaker Oats Company took over manage- 
ment of a bomb-loading plant in Nebraska; 
the Sherwin-Williams Paint Company op- 
erated a shell and bomb-loading plant in 
Illinois ; and the Procter and Gamble Soap 
Company operated the Wolf Creek Ord- 
nance Plant in Tennessee for loading 
shells. 80 Todd and Brown, Inc., which 
had helped build Rockefeller Center in 
New York and had directed the colonial 
restoration of Williamsburg, built and op- 
erated the Kingsbury Ordnance Plant. In 
selecting such contractors the Ordnance 
Department did not attach any great im- 
portance to the nature of their peacetime 
functions, but gave first consideration to 
their managerial ability, reputation for 
efficient operation, integrity, and financial 
stability. The idea was that such firms 
knew the fundamentals of mass production 
and good business management, had com- 
petent plant managers on their staff, and 
could soon learn all they needed to know 
about the special problems of loading shells 
and bombs. 31 "One of the lessons Ord- 
nance learned in the Second World War," 
wrote General Campbell, "was that any 
up-to-date, alert manufacturing company 
with a strong executive, engineering, and 
operating staff could take an ammunition 
plant and operate it effectively, even 
though the plant was of a character entirely 
foreign to the previous activity of the 
company." 32 

With all of these companies, known as 
"agent operators," Ordnance signed cost- 
plus-fixed-fee (CPFF) contracts with 
rather liberal provisions. Each company 
was reimbursed at regular intervals for 
approved expenses in operating the plant, 
and in addition was paid a fee based on 
the number or rounds of ammunition or 

pounds of explosive produced. Under this 
arrangement the contractors ran no risk of 
failing to make a profit. To protect the 
government's interest, teams of auditors at 
each plant checked the company's accounts 
and approved or disallowed every item of 
expense in accordance with policies es- 
tablished in Washington. As the CPFF 
contract had never before been used by the 
Army on such a scale, it raised many 
knotty legal and fiscal problems for both 
government and contractor. There was 
some criticism that the fees allowed the 
contractors were excessive, but the Ord- 
nance contracts for plant operation en- 
countered little of the public criticism 
directed against the CPFF construction 
contracts. 33 

Metal Components 

While new powder, explosives, and load- 
ing plants were being built and put into 
operation the Ammunition Division also 
launched a tremendous program for pro- 
curement of the metal components of am- 
munition. The magnitude of this phase of 
ammunition procurement is indicated by 
the fact that in the single year 1943 it 
used four million tons of steel, second only 
to the tank-automotive program, which ate 

30 For detailed testimony on Wolf Creek, see 
Hearings, Truman Comm., 17 Nov 41, pt. 9, pp. 
29051?, 77 th Cong., 1st sess. See also Interim Gen 
Rpt, Comm. on Mil Affairs, H.R. 77th Cong., 
ad sess., H.R. Rpt No. 2274. 

31 (1) Statement prepared by Wesson for the 
Truman Comm., Jun 41, OHF; (2) PSP 8, pp. 

32 Campbell, op. cit., p. 72. 

33 For a comprehensive tabulation of operating 
costs and fixed fees earned, see Hist, Ammo Div, 
Ind Serv, OCO, vol. 100, Relationship of Actual 
Costs and Fees. . . , 31 May 45, OHF. For 
criticism of fees, see reports of inspections of the 
plants and of the Office Field Director of Am- 
munition plants by representatives of The Inspec- 
tor General's Department. 



up seven million tons of steel. Procurement 
of metal components was not only a big 
but also a highly complex operation, re- 
quiring the co-ordination of literally hufe- 
dreds of widely scattered producers. For 
each type of ammunition, cartridge cases 
might be procured from one source and 
shell forgings from another, while a third 
source machined shells, and still other firms 
produced primers, fuzes, adapters, and 
boosters. Contracts were negotiated and 
administered by the arsenals and district 
offices with delivery direct to loading plants. 
Generally speaking, the prewar planning 
by the districts for procurement of metal 
components was not adequate and was 
thrown overboard when war came. 34 

Production of all components had to be 
carefully planned in advance, and then 
schedules had to be adjusted from month 
to month to meet changes in over-all re- 
quirements. All items had to conform 
exactly to specifications so the products of 
many separate plants could be speedily 
assembled on a mass-production basis. Be- 
cause of the great variety of shell sizes 
and types, constant efforts were made to 
reduce the number of components and to 
adapt each part to fit different types of 
shell. This resulted in a great number of 
interchangeable parts that helped to sim- 
plify procurement but required close cen- 
tral control of production scheduling. Al- 
though the Ammunition Division procured 
several hundred different small parts for 
all kinds of ammunition, the story of pro- 
curement of metal components may be 
told in broad outline under four headings 
— shot and shell, cartridge cases, bomb 
bodies, and fuzes. 35 

Shot and Shell 

In the literal meaning of the term, an 
artillery shell is a shell, i.e., it is not solid 

but hollow. This distinguishes it from shot, 
which is solid (or has only a small cavity) 
and is most widely used in the smaller 
sizes for penetrating armor plate. Most 
World War II shells, and a large propor- 
tion of bombs, contained a high explosive 
such as TNT or RDX and achieved their 
effect either by blast or by scattering steel 
fragments. Driven from gun barrels at su- 
personic speed, shot and shell carried death 
and destruction directly to the enemy. 
They formed, in the words of General 
Harris, "the fist of our fighting forces." 

There were two main processes involved 
in shell production — forging and machin- 
ing — and at the outset separate contracts 
were made for each. The importance of 
these two processes had been recognized by 
Ordnance procurement officers for many 
years before World War II and both had 
been included in the educational orders 
program of 1939. Forging of the 75-mm. 
high-explosive shell was one of the six 
production processes on the first educa- 
tional orders list, and machining of the 
same shell was added a short time later. In 
the late 1930's Frankford Arsenal estab- 
lished a modern shell-machining pilot line 
capable of making three thousand 75-mm. 
shells per 8-hour day with only forty-one 
machine operators. During the emergency 
period it was available as a model for 
private industry. But in spite of all these 
efforts, shell producers ran into a lot of 
trouble in getting quantity production in 
1940 and 1 941. 38 

34 (1) Interv with Col John P. Harris; (2) 
Intervwith Dr. Ralph Ilsley, g Jun 53. 

35 For detailed data on number of items and 
number of components in the program in 1941, 
see draft memo from Ammo Div to Dist Contl 
Div, r8 Sep 41, Sub: Plans for Current Proc, 

3S This section is based on many interviews with 
Ordnance officers during the summer of 1953, and 



Only one government-owned facility, the 
Gadsden Ordnance Plant, was built to 
produce shells. All other production came 
from privately owned plants. Operations at 
Gadsden, where both forging and machin- 
ing of 105-mm. shells took place, were 
fairly typical of the process of shell man- 
ufacture, and may be cited to illustrate the 
techniques employed. After the plant re- 
ceived a shipment of 1,000-pound steel 
billets from steel mills, the billets were 
nicked and broken into slugs on a hy- 
draulic press. These slugs, each about the 
size and shape of a loaf of bread, were 
then heated, run through a roller, and 
placed upright in a die pot. Powerful 
presses then performed piercing and draw- 
ing operations that formed the deep cavity 
for holding the high explosive. After 
further shaping and cleaning, the rough 
forging went to the machine shop where it 
was finished on a variety of lathes and 
grinders, and heat treated in hardening 
furnaces. 37 

Most manufacturers, when shown an 
artillery shell and asked if they could make 
it, promptly answered, "Of course." A 
shell appeared to be a comparatively simple 
object, but making thousands of them to 
exact measurement proved far harder than 
it at first appeared. 38 A shell had to meet 
exacting specifications, particularly on out- 
side measurements, over-all weight, and 
uniformity of wall thickness. These specifi- 
cations were not needlessly precise, as 

on the numerous histories in the Ordnance files 
bearing on procurement of metal components. On 
the Frankford line, see Charles Grazioso, "How to 
Machine 75-mm. Shell," in Artillery and Small 
Arms Ammunition (New York: McGraw Hill 
Publishing Company, 1942) compiled by the ed- 
itors of American Machinist, and Lt. Col. Levin 
Campbell, Jr., "Artillery Ammunition Production," 
Army Ordnance, XIX, No. 113 (March-April, 
1939), 273- 

some harried producers were inclined to 
think, but were the products of long years 
of experimental production and test firing. 
Slight variations in wall thickness, for 
example, appeared trivial to the manufac- 
turer, but Ordnance ammunition men 
knew that they would throw the shell off 
balance and shorten its range. 39 Ord- 
nance engineers responsible for the per- 
formance of ammunition were reluctant to 
approve any deviations from tried and 
proved specifications, for they could not be 
sure, without prolonged tests, what effect 
such deviations might have. And if an 
engineering change were authorized for 
one contractor it had to be authorized for 
all, with the corollary need to revise all 
contracts pertaining to the item. 40 "We 
are not going to abrogate inspection draw- 
ings or specification requirements for qual- 
ity," General Campbell told the District 
chiefs in the spring of 1943. "I don't care 
if he is Judas Priest himself he is not going 
to get it because we saw some of that in 

37 (1) History, Gadsden Ordnance Plant, OHF; 
(2) A. F. MacConnochie "Forging 105-mm. HE 
Shell at Gadsden Ordnance Plant," Steel, vol, 113, 
No. 4 (26 Jul 43), pp. 72-76; (3) History of 
155-mm. Shell Forging Production, by Tennessee 
Coal, Iron and Railroad Co., in Hist, Birmingham 
Dist, vol. 100, pt. 4. For comparison of pierce-and- 
draw method with upsetter method, see J. B. 
Nealey, "Notes on Shell Forging," American Ma- 
chinist, 86 (26 November 1943), 1383. 

38 See recognition of this fact in The Armed 
Forces of A.C.F., p. 40, a booklet put out by 
American Car and Foundry Co. at the end of the 
war, in OHF. 

19 As an example, see, Col'. Herman U. Wagner, 
"The Projectile in Flight — Effects of Eccentric 
Wall Thickness on Shell Behavior," Ordnance, 
XXXVII, No. 194 (September-October 1952), 
339-45. For similar comments on this theme, see 
address, The Time Is Now, by Maj Gen Gladeon 
M. Barnes, 4 Sep 44, Weirton, W.Va., OHF. 

40 Documentation of a specific case in the ex- 
plosives field when Ordnance was accused of 
showing bad management may be found in Hist, 
FDAP, IV, app. IV-15 to IV-22, and IV-30. 



the last war. Once you lose control of 
drawings, God help the Ordnance Depart- 
ment." 41 

The history of the Pittsburgh District, 
largest steel-producing area in the nation, 
reveals some of the difficulties in shell 
procurement. Small-scale production began 
early in 1940 when educational orders for 
forging 75-mm. shells were placed with the 
Pressed Steel Car Company and the Pitts- 
burgh Forgings Company. A short time 
later another educational order, for forging 
the 8 1 -mm. shell, was awarded the Dresser 
Manufacturing Company of Bradford, pro- 
ducer of oil well equipment. In June 1940 
an educational order for the 105-mm. shell 
was placed with the Pullman-Standard Car 
Manufacturing Company, and was soon 
followed by a production contract. At the 
same time, a $34 million contract was 
awarded the National Tube Company for 
forging a wide variety of shell sizes, from 
75-mm. through 155-mm. In peacetime 
the manufacturer of seamless steel tubing 
and pressure cylinders, National Tube 
served in war both as a shell forger and as 
a laboratory for developing new production 
methods. National Tube and Pullman- 
Standard also signed contracts during the 
defense period for shell machining, as did 
the Armstrong Cork Company. But there 
were not many contracts of this kind be- 
cause the Pittsburgh area was not well 
supplied with firms capable of machining 
shells to close tolerances. 42 

An analysis of fourteen contracts for 
forging artillery shells in the Pittsburgh 
district shows that they averaged a little 
over four months in coming into produc- 
tion. Even then, contractors encountered 
repeated difficulties in getting quality pro- 
duction. The rate of rejection by inspectors 
was so high that Ordnance was forced to 
widen certain tolerances and relax some of 

its inspection requirements. 43 This step 
did not lower the quality of finished shells 
but simply placed a greater burden on the 
firms that machined the shells to final di- 
mensions. The record on shell machining is 
more difficult to measure, for machining 
could not begin until forgings were avail- 
able. Pullman-Standard's educational or- 
der for machining 105-mm. shells did not 
get into production until August 1941, 
almost a year after the award. The delay 
resulted chiefly from difficulties the com- 
pany had with its order for forging the 
same shell. In July 1941, when the com- 
pany took a production contract for 
forging and machining the 105-mm. shell, 
it profited from the earlier experience and 
completed the job three months ahead of 

Probably the most important improve- 
ment in shell-forging technique adopted by 
American industry during the war was a 
method for more exact forging of the in- 
terior of a shell. Adoption of this improved 
technique for piercing and drawing 
enabled the Pullman-Standard Company, 
which used it effectively, to produce 155- 
mm. shells from billets weighing only 126 
pounds instead of the standard 150 
pounds. The new process not only saved 
steel but, what was even more important, 
it also cut down on the man-hours and 
machine time needed to finish the shell. 44 

Beginning in midsummer 1942 with the 
155-mm. shell, Ordnance canceled all its 

11 Rpt, Gonf Dist Chiefs, Rochester, 19 May 43, 
p. 18, OHF. 

42 Hist, Pittsburgh Ord Dist, I, pt. 3, ch. 5 and 
pt. 4, ch. 6. 

43 Ibid., pt. 3, ch. 4. Critical comments on 
arsenal methods by a San Francisco district en- 
gineer appear in History, San Francisco Ordnance 
District, I, pt. a, ch. 6. 

44 Hist, Pittsburgh Ord Dist, I, pt. 4, pp. 778- 
79, and vol. too, sec. 10. 



contracts for shell forgings and inaugu- 
rated a new procedure for ammunition 
procurement. Originally the Department 
had made separate contracts, usually with 
different companies, for forging and ma- 
chining shells, and had assumed responsi- 
bility for delivering forgings to the ma- 
chines as required. This arrangement 
enabled the Ammunition Division to keep 
close control over forging operations during 
the early phase when the forgers encoun- 
tered many difficulties in meeting specifica- 
tions. After these difficulties were sur- 
mounted Ordnance told the companies 
holding contracts for machining that it 
would no longer supply them with forgings 
but would expect them to buy directly 
from the forging companies. One advan- 
tage of this move for Ordnance was that it 
freed the Department of a rather demand- 
ing job and thus simplified its procurement 
process. The new procedure was welcomed 
by industry because it left more room for 
the free play of normal business forces. As 
shell forgings varied slightly in outside 
dimensions, depending on the technique 
and skill of the producer, and thus re- 
quired different amounts of machining, the 
forgers and machiners could now work out 
between themselves whatever adjustments 
were required on each order. 45 

During the early months of 1942 the 
production of shells used such a high 
percentage of steel output that measures 
had to be taken to relieve the situation. 
Ordnance revised the prevailing specifica- 
tion of steel with a high manganese con- 
tent to permit use of lower grade steel 
and more scrap metal. But use of this 
steel required heat treating by the shell 
machiners to retain the desired physical 
properties. Every shell-machining plant had 
therefore to install hardening furnaces, oil 
quench systems, and draw furnaces. There 

were, of course, other factors to be con- 
sidered in this move. Manganese steel had 
been specified originally because of its 
free-machining quality, but in 1941 metal- 
lurgists became alarmed at the prospect of 
polluting the nation's steel scrap pile with 
sulfur from the manganese steel. 46 

Producers of shot encountered many of 
the same problems as did the shell manu- 
facturers. When contracts for shot were let 
in large volume, few producers had suf- 
ficient machines to get into production. 
Lack of centerless grinders, which were not 
extensively used in peacetime industry, 
presented the most serious problem and 
blocked many contractors from starting 
production. Next in importance was the 
great need for heat-treating equipment, 
and, for the smaller shot, automatic screw 
machines. Stepped up production sched- 
ules posed problems with cutting tools as 
"round-the-clock" operation of machines 
at higher-than-normal speeds reduced the 
life of all tools. Use of carbide-tipped tools 
proved helpful as did liberal use of 
coolants. 47 

One of the most striking contrasts be- 
tween procurement plans and actual out- 
put in 1 94 1 and 1942 appears in records 
of 75-mm. and 105-mm. shell production 
in the Pittsburgh district. Before 1940, 
when the 75-mm. gun was the main 
weapon of the Field Artillery, its ammuni- 
tion topped the requirements list with 
nearly five million scheduled for the Pitts- 
burgh district in the first year of war. In 
comparison, only 598,000 shells for the 

45 Hist, Pittsburgh Ord Dist, I, pt. 3, ch. 5, pp. 

48 ( 1 ) Hist, Chicago Ord Dist, I, pt. 1, pp. 48- 
49; (a) Interv with Brig Gen Merle H. Davis, 37 
May 53. 

47 ( 1 ) Hist, Chicago Ord Dist, I, pt. 1, pp. 55- 
56; (2) Memo, Miles for Chief Ind Serv, 31 Jan 



A 500-Pound Demolition Bomb ready 
for shipment to a loading plant to be filled 
with high explosives. (Fins are attached for 
photographic purposes.) 

105-mm. gun were scheduled. Actual pro- 
duction in 1942 reversed this proportion, 
with only about one million of the smaller 
shell and nearly five million of the larger 
type accepted. In spite of these variations 
in specific items, total planned production 
for the first year of war was quite close to 
total actual production. 48 

Artillery Cartridge Cases 

Unlike shot and shell, which were gen- 
erally made of steel, cartridge cases were 
normally made of brass. These cases not 
only contained the propellent charge, us- 
ually smokeless powder, but also held the 
percussion primer and gripped the base of 
the projectile. They expanded when the 

gun was fired to form a tight-fitting valve 
that helped prevent escape of gases to the 
rear, and then instantly contracted to per- 
mit easy extraction from the breech. Like 
shells, brass cases, which resembled big tin 
cans, looked easy to make. They were 
certainly easier to make than fuzes, but 
their manufacture was not without its 
problems. It required special machinery 
and full knowledge of time-tested pro- 
cedures for which Frankford Arsenal served 
as the development center. Although many 
other techniques had been tried over the 
years, the only successful method was deep 
drawing the entire case from a single 
disc. 49 

In the fall of 1940 the Bridgeport Brass 
Company surveyed existing brass-making 
capacity in terms of planned production 
for military use and reported that more 
plants were urgently needed. Early in 1941 
the War Department approved an Ord- 
nance proposal to build a new government- 
owned brass plant in the Midwest to be 
operated by the Bridgeport Brass Company 
of Bridgeport, Connecticut. Designed to 
turn out twenty million pounds of brass 
strip per month, and also fabricate light 
and medium cartridge cases, the new plant 
was built at Indianapolis and was formally 
opened on 15 May 1942. 

Just as the production of brass cases 
was moving into high gear in the closing 

48 Hist, Pittsburgh Ord Dist, I, pt. 4, pp. 764 
-65 and ex. B. 

40 Detailed information on the new machines 
installed at Frankford, and new processes adopted, 
in the late 1930's, may be found in History Frank- 
ford Arsenal, Artillery Ammunition, volume I, 
OHF. The technique of cartridge case manufac- 
ture as practiced in 1940 is described by F. J. 
Lerro, foreman of the artillery cartridge case shop 
at Frankford, in American Machinist, 84, (2 
October 1940), 761. See also Hist, Chicago Ord 
Dist, I, pp. 8afF. 



months of 1 94 1 , a severe shortage of cop- 
per and its alloys developed. Sea transport 
was not available to bring in copper from 
Chile. The demands of the Maritime Com- 
mission and the Navy for copper were 
huge, and there was no apparent substitute 
for the copper needed in ocean-going ves- 
sels. Ordnance was therefore faced with 
the problem of substituting some other 
metal for brass in ammunition if produc- 
tion schedules were to be met. The choice 
fell upon steel, and the widespread efforts 
to make acceptable steel cases dominated 
the scene for the next two years. As the 
manufacture of steel cases has been de- 
scribed in detail in the preceding volume, 
we need mention only at this point that the 
results were never altogether satisfactory. 
The progress was an industrial miracle, 
General Hayes once observed, but "not a 
big enough miracle. It has to be a more 
resplendent miracle." 50 The ambitious 
goals set for the steel-case project early in 
194.2 were not attained, and the project 
became, in the words of one high-ranking 
officer, "a pain in the neck." 51 Solution of 
the steel-case problem had to await a re- 
newed attack, in which Army and Navy 
co-operated, in the postwar years. 52 


The sharply rising curve of bomb pro- 
curement in 1942 represented the biggest 
single increase in ammunition production 
during World War II. After a sudden drop 
in the summer of 1943 it rose again in 
1944 and resulted in the total production 
of something over thirty-three million 
bombs and bomb clusters. The bombs 
ranged in size from 4-pound "Butterflies," 
usually dropped in clusters, to 4,000- 
pound block busters. 53 Ordnance procured 
a few 10,000-pound bombs for test by the 

A 22,000-Pound Semi-Armor-Pierc- 
ing Bomb compared with a 2,000-pound 
one produced by the A. 0. Smith Corpora- 
tion, Milwaukee, Wis. 

AAF, but they were not used in combat. 
Small quantities of 12,000-pound "Tall 
Boy" bombs and 22,000-pound "Grand 
Slam" bombs were produced in the United 

50 Rpt of Conf Ord Dist Chiefs, 28 Jul 43, 
Springfield, Mass., p. 7, OHF. 

51 Rpt of Conf Ord Dist Chiefs, Rochester, 19 
May 43, p. 13. 

52 (1) Green, Thomson, and Roots, Planning 
Munitions for War, |ch. 18; | (a) William F. 
Stevens, "Steel Cartridge - Cases Advance Toward 
Standardization," Steel, 129, No. a ( 1 951 ) , 72; 
(3) Lt. Col. Harold R. Turner, "Steel Cartridge 
Cases," Army Ord Rpt No. 5, 1 Jul 44, published 
by Army Ordnance Association. 

83 (1) Ammunition Supply in European and 
Mediterranean Theaters, p. 74; (a) Harry S. 
Beckman, "High Explosive Bombs," Ordnance, 
XXXII, No. 64 (September-October 1947), 98- 
99; (3) Ann Rpt ASF Rqmts Div FY 44, p. 18. 



States for the British, but the bulk of 
American production was in the smaller 
sizes with the 500-pound bomb accounting 
for nearly half of all general-purpose bombs 
produced in the United States. Through 
the medium of the bombing plane, this 
production contributed in a spectacular 
way to weakening the enemy on the battle- 
field and on the home front. 54 

Before 1940 there had been very little 
production of bombs in the United States. 
Aside from some work on small fragmenta- 
tion bombs at Frankford, no Ordnance 
arsenal had produced bombs. The educa- 
tional orders for bombs in 1939 were too 
small to be of much value, and it was not 
until the emergency had arrived that pro- 
duction problems were tackled in earnest. 
Even then, progress was hindered some- 
what by uncertainty as to the most desir- 
able types and sizes. Sharp differences- of 
opinion developed as to the relative merits 
of high-explosive bombs with great blast- 
ing effect and fragmentation bombs that 
filled the air with flying particles of steel. 55 
Policy on this and other matters for all 
the services was determined by a sub- 
committee of the Joint Aircraft Committee. 
Ordnance handled the biggest share of 
bomb procurement, the Chemical Warfare 
Service filled chemical bombs, and the 
Navy procured depth bombs for attacking 
submarines and armor-piercing bombs for 
use against ships with thick deck armor. 

Specifications for bombs to be dropped 
from airplanes were less exacting than for 
shells to be fired from guns, but they 
nevertheless caused some manufacturing 
difficulties. The old method of bomb pro- 
duction was to start with a solid steel 
billet, machine it down the outside, gouge 
out the inside, and then fill it with TNT 
or amatol. "They were pretty good 
bombs," wrote one contemporary observer, 

"but they cost too much, took too much 
machine work and time. . . ." 56 The 
answer was to use short lengths of thick- 
walled, large-diameter tube or pipe of the 
type used by the oil industry in peacetime. 
One end of the pipe was put into a 
furnace, brought to a white heat, and then 
forced into proper shape for the tail. The 
nose was formed in the same fashion, and 
was then cut and threaded to receive the 
fuze. After sandblasting to remove all 
scale, and heat treating to harden the 
steel, the bombs were ready to be painted 
and inspected before shipment to loading 

Ordnance did not prescribe the method 
of fabrication to be followed by bomb 
producers, but permitted each company to 
work out the method best suited to its 
equipment and past experience. Shops that 
had produced steel bottles in peacetime by 
spinning used the same process to produce 
bombs; hammer shops used the swaging 
method; and in factories where wobbling 
dies had been used to form flanges on pipes 
the same type of die was used to make 
bombs. 57 The largest bombs were made of 
rolled plate because there was no seamless 

5-1 On bomb research and development, see 
Green, Thomson, and R oots. Planning Munitions 

for War , \ Chapter XVII. 

515 For detailed consideration of this topic, see 
Green, Thomson, and R oots, Planning Munitions 
for ^ar jGhapter XVII.I 

56 Steel, 24 May 43, p. 76, quoted in Hist, 
Cleveland Ord Dist, III, p. 112. 

57 (1) Harry S. Beckman, "High Explosive 
Bombs," Ordnance, XXXII, No. 64 (September- 
October 1947), 98-99; (2) J. B. Nealey, "Seam- 
less Bombs from Steel Plate," American Machinist 
vol. 86 (October 1, 1942), m7ff; (3) Interv 
with Beckman and Otto C. Pototschnik, 6 Jul 53. 
Among the most prominent bomb-producing firms 
were A. O. Smith Corporation of Milwaukee ; 
Harrisburg Steel Corporation; and National Tube 
Company and Jones and Laughlin Steel Company, 
both of Pittsburgh, Pa. 



tube made of sufficiently large diameter. 
Armor-piercing bombs were generally made 
from billets by the pierce-and-draw 
method. General-purpose and semi-armor- 
piercing bombs were made from welded or 
seamless tubes. 68 

Bomb production suffered from changes 
in requirements more than did any other 
aspect of the ammunition program. At the 
beginning of the war, requirements for 
demolition bombs were based on airplane 
production schedules and the estimated 
number of sorties per airplane. Production 
facilities were contracted for on this basis. 
But a year or so of experience demonstrated 
that these figures were far too high because 
planes did not fly immediately from factory 
to combat theater. Some were held in this 
country for training, and a large propor- 
tion of all planes produced was needed to 
fill the supply pipelines. A drastic cutback 
in bomb procurement was therefore or- 
dered in April 1943. 59 So great was the 
reduction of bomb requirements for 1943- 
44 that General Somervell wrote to General 
Henry H. Arnold that the effect of this 
reduction on established production lines 
would be "tremendous" and would cause 
cancellation of contracts at sixteen metal- 
working plants, the complete shutdown of 
one ammonia plant, and elimination of 
thirty-five TNT lines. 80 The machines and 
facilities released in the spring of 1943 
could not be held in cold storage for the 
future because they were badly needed in 
other programs. In 1944, when bombs re- 
quirements mounted and production was 
resumed, lines had to be set up all over 
again. According to one estimate, it took 
seven months to reach 75 percent produc- 
tion on bomb bodies, and at least nine 
months for full production. "Requirements 
varied to such an extent," wrote one ob- 
server, "that nothing but the patriotism of 

the manufacturers kept them cooperat- 
ing." 61 


Of all the metal components of ammuni- 
tion, fuzes were by far the most difficult 
to manufacture and use, and were some- 
times compared to the Army mule as 
"ornery but necessary." Not only were they 
complicated mechanisms but they had to 
meet the most exacting standards of per- 
formance. The mechanical time fuze used 
on 75-mm. field artillery and 3-inch anti- 
aircraft shells, for example, consisted of 
1 06 parts, many of which had tolerances of 
less than one thousandth of an inch. 62 All 
the time and money spent on manufactur- 
ing a round of ammunition and all the 
effort expended by combat troops in get- 
ting it into position for firing were com- 
pletely wasted if the fuze failed to function 
properly. For this reason, Ordnance had 
spent a portion of its limited research 
funds on fuzes during the interwar years, 
and on making plans for their manufac- 
ture. Plans of this nature were particularly 

58 Report on the Manufacture of Demolition 
Bomb Bodies by the American Society of Mechan- 
ical Engineers, i Jun 45, copy in files of Bomb 
and Pyrotechnic Sec, R&D Div, OCO. This 
report describes and illustrates the different pro- 
duction methods used during the war. 

0fl Ltr, CG AAF to GofOrd, 4 Apr 43, sub: Re- 
duction in Bomb Rqmts, OO 400.12/5164, copy 
in Demolition Bombs, 1 Aug 44, vol. I, OHF. For 
an excellent brief 'analysis of this problem, see Rpt 
of WD Proc Review Bd, 31 Aug 43, ASF 334 (WD 
Proc Review Bd), 020 CofS, USA. See also Maj. 
Berkeley R. Lewis, Project Paper, PP 19, Bombs 
— Research, Development, Production and Per- 
formance, 1919-45, Jul 45. 

60 Memo, CG ASF for CG AAF, not dated, sub: 
Reduction in AAF Bomb Rqmts, copy in Demo- 
lition Bombs, 1 Aug 44, vol. I, OHF. 

01 Lewis, PP 19. 

02 Hist, Chicago Ord Dist, I, pt. 1, ch. 6. 



important because, with more than 150 
types of fuzes required, the need to es- 
tablish a system of common contours and 
weights was imperative. Minor variations 
in the contours and weights of point- 
detonating fuzes would affect the ballistics 
of the projectile and would require read- 
justment of the weapon when changing 
from one type of fuze to another. 83 

Picatinny had been the center of this 
work for many years before 1940, and in 
the late 1930's Frankford installed modern 
machinery for small-scale production of 
primers and mechanical time fuzes. When 
war production orders were placed, prac- 
tically every fuze manufacturer received 
drawings from Picatinny or Frankford of 
the required tools, jigs, and fixtures. Fuze 
contractors sent their production men to 
Picatinny for training in arsenal methods. 
Specialists from Picatinny visited most of 
the commercial plants to assist them in 
setting up equipment and starting produc- 
tion. There was a remarkably fruitful inter- 
change of information and ideas between 
industry and Ordnance, resulting in early 
production by industry and a constant 
stream of new fuze-making machines and 
improved production methods. For point- 
detonating fuzes some of the early con- 
tracts went to companies that normally 
produced electrical equipment, automobile 
accessories, fountain pens, pressure cook- 
ers, gasoline engines, and sewing machines. 
The earliest contracts for mechanical time 
fuzes, containing clockwork mechanisms, 
went to established watch and clock man- 
ufacturers. To speed delivery, all these 
firms set up temporary production lines 
with secondary equipment that bridged 
the gap until new machines arrived. Use 
of such equipment, including single-spindle 
drill presses and hand milling machines, 
intensified the problem of meeting the 

exacting tolerances required by Ord- 
nance. 84 

Because mechanical time fuzes were 
among the most troublesome items in the 
ammunition program, their manufacture 
demanded some means of systematic co- 
operation among contractors. In the spring 
of 1942, when huge new requirements for 
the mechanical time fuze M43 were an- 
nounced, General Campbell and a suc- 
cessful fuze contractor, Mr. Roy T. Hurley 
of the Bendix Aviation Corporation, set 
out to form an industry integration com- 
mittee for this purpose. At the end of 
April they called a meeting of representa- 
tives from the six companies holding 
contracts for the M43 fuze, plus Frankford 
Arsenal, to discuss ways of sharing the 
experience of the four firms that were 
already in production with the two that 
were just getting started. 65 Within four 
months the newly formed M43 Mechanical 
Time Fuze Committee not only increased 
production by about 100 percent but also 
introduced improved manufacturing tech- 
niques that greatly reduced the cost of the 
fuze. 66 

As noted in IChapter ITT] Ordnance had 
formed many engineering and research ad- 

" 3 ( 1 ) Green, Tho mson, and Roots, Planning 
\Munitions for War\ (a) Barnes, Weapons of 
World War II (New York: D. Van Nostrand 
Company, 1947), pp. 83-84. 

04 Hist, Chicago Ord Dist, I, p. 6off. For a 
description of fuze manufacturing methods, see J. 
B. Nealey, "Artillery Fuzes," Army Ordnance, 
XXII, No. 132 (May-June 1942) 961-64. 

85 Min, Wesson Confs, 27 Apr 42. 

00 Integration with Industry, PP No. 14, OHF. 
The six companies on this committee were East- 
man Kodak, National Cash Register, Elgin Watch, 
Hamilton Watch, the Eclipse Machine Division of 
Bendix Aviation Corporation, and the Thomas B. 
Gibbs Division of Borg Products Corporation. For 
an account of the Smokeless Powder Integration 
Committee, see H. LaTourette, Propellants — 
Smokeless Powder During World War II, Feb 46, 
pp. 47-5°. OHF. 



visory committees in 1941 to help with 
design and production problems, but it was 
not until formation of the M43 fuze com- 
mittee (and nearly simultaneous formation 
of the carbine committee) that co- 
operation between contractors came to 
cover nearly every aspect of production. 
"In the integration of the mechanical time 
fuze industry," General Campbell wrote 
to Frankford Arsenal and the six fuze con- 
tractors in April 1942, "parts, material, en- 
gineering information, production informa- 
tion, tools, equipment, and, in fact, all 
elements — both material and personnel — 
will be placed by the chairman of the com- 
mittee at the disposition of any and all 
manufacturers in the mechanical time fuze 
industry without let or hindrance." 67 De- 
scribed as "the cross-weave in the fabric of 
America's wartime Ordnance production 
program," these committees brought to- 
gether representatives of firms that were 
business competitors in time of peace and 
enabled them freely to share their knowl- 
edge and skills in the interests of national 
defense. At committee meetings these rep- 
resentatives exchanged new production 
ideas and arranged for the transfer from 
one company to another of scarce materi- 
als, badly needed machine tools, or even 
skilled workmen and production engineers. 
The companies were assured in 1942, as 
their predecessors had been in 1 94 1 , by a 
letter from the Attorney General that their 
committee action would not be regarded as 
violations of the antitrust laws. Each in- 
tegration committee was headed by an 
Ordnance officer, usually the chief of the 
branch having jurisdiction, with the title 
of chairman. It also included another Ord- 
nance officer as deputy chairman, an 
industrial member as assistant chairman, 
and an Ordnance officer on duty at the 
plant where the committee had its head- 

quarters. By June 1943 there were 131 
such committees in existence, 75 of them 
dealing with ammunition (both small 
arms and artillery ) . 68 

The most remarkable new type of fuze 
developed during World War II was the 
VT 69 or proximity fuze containing a 
miniature radio transmitting and receiving 
oscillator that caused the shell to detonate 
when it came within a certain range of its 
target. Not only was development of VT 
fuzes one of the top-ranking scientific 
achievements of the war; its mass produc- 
tion was a triumph of production engineer- 
ing. "Never, perhaps, in the history of 
assembly-line methods," wrote the author 
of Scientists Against Time, "have the 
standards of performance been more diffi- 
cult to meet." 70 Procurement of VT fuzes 

67 Quoted in Campbell, Industry-Ordnance 
Team, p. 123. 

* 8 For the official Ordnance statement outlining 
the functions of the committees, see letter from 
General Campbell to Donald M. Nelson, 29 Apr 
42, in History of Carbine Industry Integration 
Committee and Prior Carbine Committees, Part 
III, OHF, and Ordnance Fiscal Circular 105, 22 
August 1942. For discussion of problems in ad- 
ministration, see Report, Conference Ordnance 
District Chiefs, Rochester, 19 May 1943, Pages 6- 
16. For an excellent brief account of integration 
in production of the M48 fuze, see Report, Con- 
ference Ordnance District Chiefs, 22 April 1944, 
Pages 12-13, m History, Detroit Ordnance Dis- 
trict, Volume 1 17, OHF. The whole subject of In- 
dustry Integration Committees is discussed by 
Richard F. McMullen in Industry Integration 
Committees, OHF, and by General Campbell in 
The Industry-Ordnance Team, Chapter 8. The 
former reference includes a list of committees and 
their members. 

on A code designation with no significance. 

70 James P. Baxter, Scientists Against Time 
(Boston; Little, Brown and Company, 1946), p. 
227. Baxter also describes the development of the 
fuze, as does Green, Th omson, and Roots, Plan~ 
ning Munit ions for War\ and Ordnance Develop- 
ment Division, National Bureau of Standards, The 
Radio Proximity Fuzes for Bombs, Rockets and 
Mortars (Washington, 1945). 



was a co-operative enterprise in which 
Ordnance was but one of many partners. 

As the Navy Bureau of Ordnance, with 
NDRC, had taken an early interest in the 
use of VT fuzes with antiaircraft guns, 
while Army Ordnance and the National 
Bureau of Standards concentrated their 
first attention on fuzes for bombs, rockets, 
and mortars, a broad division of responsi- 
bility for procurement was made between 
the two services in March 1942. The Navy 
was to procure the rotating type, used 
chiefly with rifled-bore artillery, and the 
Army was to procure the nonrotating type 
used on bombs, rockets, and mortar shell. 
Because the delicate electronic elements of 
the fuze fell naturally within the Signal 
Corps field, procurement of those parts 
was assigned to the Signal Corps which 
supplied the parts to Ordnance for final 
assembly. As it eventually turned out, most 
of the Navy-procured fuzes were used by 
the Army, and most of the Army-procured 
fuzes went to the Navy. But the co- 
operation between the two services proved 
so effective that the division of labor was 
continued throughout the war and into the 
postwar years. The less satisfactory ar- 
rangement with the Signal Corps was 
terminated in 1944 after production got 
under way and Ordnance assumed full 
responsibility for parts procurement. 71 

Manufacture of the battery-powered 
fuzes (both radio and photoelectric) was 
started in the latter part of 1942 by West- 
inghouse Electric and Manufacturing 
Company, Philco Radio and Television 
Corporation, General Electric Company, 
Emerson Radio and Phonograph Corpora- 
tion, Julien P. Friez and Sons, Western 
Electric Company, and Rudolph Wurlitzer 
Company. Production of this type totaled 

780,000. Approximately a million bomb 
fuzes of a later generator-powered type 
were produced by Westinghouse, Emer- 
son, Philco, General Electric, and Zenith 
Radio Corporation. 72 

By the summer of 1943 sufficient experi- 
ence had been gained with VT fuzes for 
large projectiles to suggest that develop- 
ment of much smaller fuzes for trench 
mortars was possible, and in November 
ig43 the Office of Scientific Research and 
Development (OSRD) was requested to 
undertake the job. By the winter of 1944- 
45 interest began to grow in the possibility 
of getting VT mortar fuzes into large- 
scale production before the war ended. In 
March 1945, Dr. Vannevar Bush of OSRD 
wrote that the project could be carried 
through successfully only if the Army put 
the full weight of its influence on the scale. 
Within two weeks a meeting of OSRD and 
Ordnance representatives was held to dis- 
cuss the goal of 400,000 fuzes per month 
by January 1946. By the end of July the 
design was complete and tooling for large- 
scale production had started, but the 
project was canceled when the war ended 
the following month. 73 

71 (1) Interv with Hoyt W. Sisco, Chief VT 
Fuze Sec, R&D OCO, 14 Jul 53; (2) OCM 
31683, 7 Aug 47, citing the early documents; (3) 
Baxter, op. cit., ch. XV; (4) Joseph C. Boyce, ed., 
New Weapons for Air Warfare (Boston: Little, 
Brown and Company, 1947), pp. 194 and 207; 
(5) Telecon with W. S. Hinman, Jr., Asst Direc- 
tor of Ord National Bureau of Standards, 15 Jul 
53. For an account of Signal Corps procurement, 
see History, Signal Corps Research and Develop- 
ment in World War II, vol. 4, Project 453-C, 
Signal Corps historical files. 

72 Ord Development Div, Nat Bur of Standards, 
Radio Proximity Fuzes for Bombs, Rockets and 
Mortars pp. 30-31. 

73 Boyce, op. cit., ch. XXII I. 


Artillery Ammunition: Production 

By the summer of 1942 the period of 
plant expansion for artillery ammunition 
had to come to an end, and the period 
of intensive production was beginning. In 
the history of the ammunition program 
the transition from expansion to produc- 
tion is conveniently marked by the crea- 
tion on 5 August 1942 of the Office of the 
Field Director of Ammunition Plants 
(FDAP) in St. Louis. 1 Headed by Col. 
Theodore C. Gerber, an Ordnance officer 
with experience as commander of a 
government - owned, contractor - operated 
(GOCO) plant, this office administered 
all the ammunition plants, most of which 
were within an overnight train ride from 
St. Louis. The new headquarters was 
staffed by transferring from Washington 
the lawyers, contract negotiators, and ad- 
ministrators who had piloted the plants 
through the expansion period. 

Operations of FDAP 

At the outset it was assumed that FDAP 
would be primarily an administrative and 
legal office and that most technical prob- 
lems would be referred to Washington or 
to Picatinny Arsenal. General Campbell, 
who had launched the GOCO plants 
while assistant chief for new facilities, 
knew that legal and administrative prob- 
lems were inevitable because of the novelty 
of the GOCO arrangement whereby pri- 

vate concerns produced war materials on 
government property, using government- 
owned machinery, and received payment 
under a cost-plus-fixed-fee formula. In the 
beginning FDAP had no authority over 
inspection, packaging, renovation, or 
scheduling, but as time went on these 
responsibilities were delegated to it. By 
1945 FDAP had, in the words of the of- 
ficial memorandum, "complete control, 
administration, coordination, and direc- 
tion" of the GOCO plants under the Am- 
munition Division. 2 But it never had as full 
control of the ammunition program as 
OCO-Detroit had of tank-automotive 
procurement. Broad control of scheduling 
of production remained in Washington, as 
did authority to approve engineering 
changes. St. Louis was not granted as 
much authority as was Detroit, primarily 
because of the marked procurement differ- 
ences between ammunition and vehicles. 
Ordnance did not contract for a complete 
round of ammunition as it contracted for 
a complete truck or tank. The division into 

1 FDAP was authorized by ODO Number 305, 
16 July 194.2. Its creation is described in Green, 
Tho mson, and R oots. Planning Munitions for 
Efa dChapter IV. I 

3 History, FDAP, Aug 42-Sep 45, vol. I, p. 7, 
This history contains a copy of Ammunition 
Branch Memorandum 48-42, 31 July 1942 and 
Ammunition Division Memorandum no. 2-45, 
2 March 1945. See also Mead Comm. Report, 
Aug 46. 



three distinct operations — procurement of 
metal components from industry, produc- 
tion of powder and explosives at GOCO 
plants, and assembly and loading at 
GOCO plants — made wholesale decentral- 
ization to St. Louis far more difficult than 
was decentralization of tank-automobile 
procurement to Detroit. 

The administrative problems handled by 
FDAP covered a wide range. Most of them 
centered around the interpretation of con- 
tracts, auditing expenses, and applying 
specifications. There were questions, for 
example, about the propriety of charging 
to government expense the cost of certain 
activities such as plant newspapers and 
charitable contributions that were normal 
business practice for the contracting firms. 
There were more important problems in 
recruiting personnel and obtaining draft 
deferments for essential workers. Difficul- 
ties in production, or in satisfying inspec- 
tion demands, were also brought to the 
attention of FDAP, which served as a 
"home office" for all the plants. 3 

There were many obvious advantages in 
the GOCO arrangement, but the dual 
control required by the government- 
industry partnership in the ammunition 
plants caused certain difficulties. There 
was inevitably some duplication of func- 
tion between contractor and government 
and many opportunities for friction de- 
veloped. When emergency production first 
began, all available talent had to be used 
in the process of training new personnel. 
Contractors who knew little or nothing 
about handling ammunition had to depend 
upon Ordnance officers and civilian tech- 
nicians. During the construction period, 
government representatives at each plant 
site handled payrolls, timekeeping, and in- 
spection of all incoming material. After 
the plants reached the operating stage the 

contracting firms took over most of these 
duties, with government auditors checking 
the accounts only on a selective basis. As 
all the sites on which Ordnance facilities 
were located were designated as military 
reservations, a commanding officer was as- 
signed to each with responsibility for the 
activities of the government auditors and 
inspectors, and for protecting government 
property. This system of dual control was 
not only wasteful of personnel but annoy- 
ing to both sides and administratively un- 
sound because it tended to divide responsi- 
bility for performance. Frequent changes 
in the Ordnance commanders at the plants 
caused further difficulty. One plant, for 
example, had seven different commanding 
officers during three years, each new com- 
mander "coming in to get the plant run- 
ning right." 4 Most of the contracting 
firms directed their representatives at the 
plant sites to work in co-operation with 
the government representatives and to 
reach practical solutions on the spot rather 
than to refer every problem to the home 
office. With some firms, particularly those 
with no experience in munitions making, 
there was criticism that the safety pro- 
visions required by Ordnance were too 
elaborate, that labor-saving machinery was 
not used enough, and that "many deci- 
sions forced upon the contractor by direc- 
tive were uneconomical and unsound. 


3 Hist, FDAP, vol. II, pt. I, Oct 45. 

4 Key Pers Rpts from Lone Star Ord Plant, 
OHF. Criticism of dual control was made by a 
representative of the Bureau of the Budget in the 
General Report on Bag and Shell Loading, 4 
January 1944. For an illustration of difficulties 
during the construction period, see History, Wolf 
Creek Ordnance Plant, I. This plant was cited 
by the Truman Committee as an example of un- 
duly high-cost construction. See S. Rpt 480, pt. 
5, 15 Jan 42, 77th Cong., 2d sess., pp. 125-66. 

See, for example, History, Cornhusker Ord- 
nance Plant, I, pp. n-12. 



On 3 October 1942 the Chief of Ord- 
nance issued a directive to clarify the sit- 
uation at the GOCO plants. His purpose 
was to put a stop to duplication of effort 
between contractors and Ordnance field 
staffs, to reduce the Ordnance payroll by 
transferring to the contractor responsibility 
for property records, production planning, 
motor pools, and in-process inspection. 6 
As a result of this directive, the number of 
Ordnance officers and civilian employees 
at the plants dropped sharply. At the 
Arkansas Ordnance Plant, for example, 
there were 424 civilians on the govern- 
ment payroll in September 1942 but only 
255 at the end of December, and during 
the same period the number of officers 
dropped from 15 to g. 7 Nevertheless, a 
study of loading plants completed in Jan- 
uary 1944 showed that some Ordnance 
employees were duplicating work done by 
contractor employees. 8 Between January 
1943 and June 1944 the number of civilian 
employees at all GOCO ammunition facil- 
ities was cut in half. 9 The October 1942 
directive not only conserved manpower 
and reduced duplication but it also pro- 
moted greater understanding and confi- 
dence between the contractor and the 
government. 10 

Competition among Plants 

Perhaps the most noteworthy achieve- 
ment of FDAP was the use of standard 
methods to measure the efficiency and 
economy of plant operations. The need for 
such methods was obvious. The CPFF 
contracts under which the plants operated 
provided an incentive for quantity produc- 
tion but not for efficiency and economy. 
As the contracting firms received a certain 
fee per unit of production their prime 
objective was speed of production, not 

economy or efficiency. Colonel Gerber and 
his superiors in Washington decided to 
attack this problem by recording and 
analyzing the cost of operation for each 
plant. They believed that once this was 
done — and the results distributed — a spirit 
of competition would develop, with every 
plant manager eager to make a good show- 
ing in the eyes of his home office and in 
view of the other plant managers. Pride 
was to take the place of profit as an in- 
centive to efficient low-cost production. 11 
The success of this plan cannot be 
measured accurately, but there is some 
indication that it worked well. A record of 
improved efficiency under the system does 
not of itself prove the point, for efficiency 

Ltr, CofOrd to CO's Ord plants, 3 Oct 42, 
sub: Clarification of Functions of Ord Dept Field 
Staff at New Ord Facilities, copy in Hist, Corn- 
husker Ord Plant, vol. II, app. See also comments 
on the "substantial progress" made by Ordnance 
in Memo of Director SOS, Contl Div, for CG 
SOS, 22 Nov 42, sub: GOCO Ord Plants, in ASF 
Contl Div file, folder marked Orgn of Ord Dept 

7 History, Arkansas Ordnance Plant, I, pp. 6-7. 
This history describes in some detail the specific 
duties performed by government employees at the 
plant. For an excellent account by an Ordnance 
p n ant commander, see Lt. Col. John K. Willard, 
Key Personnel Report, 31 October 1945, Pennsyl- 
vania Ordnance Works, OHF. 

8 Gen Rpt on Bag and Shell Loading, 4 Jan 44. 
Performance Analysis . . . FDAP, By Statistics 

and Progress Unit, FDAP, 1 Jun 45, copy in Hist 

10 For testimony on this point from one Ord- 
nance officer with wide experience, see Final Re- 
port of Maj Vernon L. Keldsen, 22 October 1945, 
Key Pers Rpts, Alabama Ord Works, OHF. 

11 Hist, FDAP, vol. II, pt. Ill, and vol. VIII. 
Reports on the comparative standing of the load- 
ing plants in August 1943 are conveniently as- 
sembled in General Report on Bag and Shell 
Loading. For an account of the work done by 
the contractors in compiling cost data, see La 
Tourette, PSP 17, Propellants-Smokeless Powder 
During World War II, quoting final report of the 
Smokeless Powder Industry Committee, pp. 46- 



would probably have risen steadily under 
any circumstances as both management 
and worker gained experience and as new 
machines or techniques were introduced 
on the production lines. 12 But the record 
of the GOCO plants was so good that the 
FDAP administration must be credited 
with having inspired performance far 
above normal. The record was one of 
steadily increasing production, lowering 
costs, rising labor productivity, and sub- 
stantial savings in the use of raw materials. 
The cost of TNT, for example, was cut in 
half while the rate of production was 
doubled. The amount of alcohol required 
per 100 pounds of smokeless powder was 
cut from 7 gallons to 2 gallons, a saving of 
over 4,000,000 gallons per month. It cost 
over 27 dollars and took nearly 10 man- 
hours to load a 1000-pound bomb in 
January 1943; the same bomb was loaded 
a year later at a cost of about 16 dollars 
and in less than 5 manhours. 18 

In the spring of 1944, Representative 
Albert J. Engel, a member of the War 
Department Subcommittee of the House 
Appropriations Committee, personally in- 
spected twenty-two ammunition plants 
and summarized his findings in a report 
printed in The Congressional Record, 21 
June 1944. After citing many specific ex- 
amples of the remarkable savings achieved 
by Ordnance and its ammunition contrac- 
tors, Representative Engel offered the fol- 
lowing comments, which still stand as the 
best brief explanation of the factors be- 
hind the FDAP accomplishment: 

Reduction of cost and conservation of man- 
power has been outstanding. It has been 
due, in my judgment, in a large measure to: 
( 1 ) The excellent quality of the responsible 
and experienced contractors selected. (2) 
The creation of integrating committees and 
the meeting of those committees periodic- 
ally to exchange information between plants. 

(3) Continuous analysis and comparison of 
unit costs and cost of operation of respective 
plants by the Field Director of Ammunition 
Plants. This policy created a competitive 
spirit, each plant trying not only to increase 
efficiency but also to reduce their costs to 
the level of the plant which had the lowest 
unit-cost level. (4) The high quality of the 
technical knowledge available in loading 
units of the Field Director of Ammunition 
Plants. (5) The establishment of manpower 
standards by skilled industrial engineers 
working through administrative units aided 
by industrial representatives. (6) Last, and 
certainly of great importance, was the close 
and effective cooperation between industry 
and the War Department in the operation of 
these plants, making available, without res- 
ervation, information of every kind and 
quality which industry possessed. 14 


There was also much that was not ac- 
complished by FDAP and industry before 
the war ended. No fully satisfactory 
method of comparing the operating effi- 
ciency of plants was devised. Cost state- 
ments alone were not adequate, for there 
were many uncontrollable factors in the 

12 By way of comparison, see the discussion of 
steadily rising efficiency in British plants for shell 
loading (called "filling" by the British) in Pos- 
tan, British War Production, pp. 174-183. During 
the 18 months preceding Pearl Harbor the 
effic'ency of "filling labour" increased by 40 per- 

13 For a broad summary, see Performance 
Analysis of . . . Ammo Plants, 1 Jun 45, ex. 
XXII in Hist, FDAP, VIII. 

14 Hon Albert J. Engel, Ordnance Ammunition 
Production, Army Ord Rpt, No. 6, 21 Aug 44, 
AOA, Army Ordnance Association, OHF. See 
also the generally favorable report submitted in 
January 1944 by a representative of the Bureau 
of the Budget, General Report on Bag and Shell 
Loading. Inspecting officers in 1945 praised the 
FDAP staff for its competence and efficiency. See 
ltr, Col J. B. Jones and Maj C. F. Heney to 
Acting TIG, 4 Mar 45, sub: Spec Inspection of 



total cost. The labor rate at each plant was 
geared to the prevailing rates in the local- 
ity, and costs of raw materials varied from 
month to month and plant to plant. In 
January 1945 a proposed plan for evaluat- 
ing the performance of TNT works was 
prepared, assigning a percentage value to 
each basic cost factor and expressing over- 
all ratings by a single index number. But 
the proposal did not proceed beyond the 
discussion stage before the end of the war 
was in sight. 15 

Few of the plants under FDAP super- 
vision ever had a chance to achieve peak 
efficiency by operating at capacity over a 
long period. In most cases, as soon as a 
plant came into production and completed 
a few months of shakedown operations, it 
received notice to curtail production. By 
the fall of 1943 the tendency throughout 
the War Department was to feel that 
adequate supplies were on hand and that 
Ordnance was producing too much am- 
munition. 10 In January 1944 Ordnance 
was forced to practice extremely short- 
range scheduling of plant operations, few 
schedules running for more than one 
month ahead. Changes in types of am- 
munition also had an effect on plant 
efficiency, for it required the plants to 
shut down a line for loading bombs, for 
example, and convert to a shell-loading 
line, or switch from small to large calibers. 
Changes often had to be made suddenly, 
without advance preparation for manage- 
ment or workers, and the effect on morale 
was, to say the least, disconcerting. Be- 
cause of the lack of firm, long-range fore- 
casts of requirements, it was not possible 
to concentrate production in the most 
efficient plants and operate them full time. 
Instead, particularly in late 1943, the pro- 
duction load was spread out among many 
plants in order to keep them in operation 

as a reserve against unexpected demands 
in the future. But during the winter of 
1943-44 many plants were closed as the 
War Department emphasized the curtail- 
ment of production. 17 

As noted in the preceding chapter, the 
Ordnance Department's management of 
the ammunition program was subject to 
criticism on one score — the terms of its 
contracts with the plant operators. No 
generalization applies with equal force to 
all the contracts, but it may be said that 
in many cases the contractors received fees 
that were generous if not excessive. The 
contractors were as free of business risk as 
any businessman could hope to be. They 
had no capital invested in the plants; 
they contributed no operating funds; they 
oftentimes utilized government free-issue 
materials; they had an assured market for 
their products; and they were reimbursed 
for all costs. Officers of The Inspector 
General's Department who made a special 
inspection of FDAP in March 1945 ex- 
pressed the view that the terms of con- 
tracts with the operating firms were "ex- 
tremely liberal." 18 Though in many cases 

1 •"' See draft letter, entitled Index of Operating 
Performance — TNT Industry, 3 Jan 45, in Hist, 
FDAP, IV, app. Ill— 1 . For a report on loading 
plants, see General Report on Bag and Shell 

ie (1) Report of WD Equipment Review Board, 
31 Aug 43, ASF, 334, 020- GofS USA; (2) Gen 
Rpt on Bag and Shell Loading. The author of 
this report concluded that "the condition most 
affecting use of manpower and economy in load- 
ing is the rep orted frequent changes in operating 
schedules." See 

Chapter IV. 

17 The resumption ot lull production in 1944 
is discussed below. For data on the closing of 
plants, see reports in OO 334. 

1 8 Ltr, Jones and Heney to Acting TIG, 4 Mar 
45. Reports by other IG officers who made in- 
spections of the administration of GPFF con- 
tracts at artillery ammunition and small arms 
ammunition plants reached the same conclusion. 



the fees originally agreed upon had been 
substantially reduced during the preceding 
two years, the inspecting officers felt that 
further reductions were in order. They 
pointed out that one company, operator of 
a loading plant, had contributed very little 
"know-how"; it had not contributed 
trained employees from its own staff but 
had trained all its workers for the plant at 
government expense. Yet, in spite of its 
modest contribution the company had re- 
ceived to date over $470,000 in fees. 
Neither the Chief of Ordnance nor the 
director of FDAP agreed with these con- 
clusions. They insisted that, all things con- 
sidered, the fees were not excessive and 
pointed to the fact that FDAP was con- 
stantly reviewing contracts to keep fees 
down to the proper level. 

Cost-plus-fixed-fee supply contracts dif- 
fered from CPFF construction contracts in 
one important respect: the fixed fee was 
not really fixed. It was not a single lump- 
sum payment for the whole operation but 
a fee for each unit produced, such as a 
pound of TNT or round of small arms 
ammunition. The fees were originally set 
without full knowledge of production costs 
or of economies that might be achieved. 
Volume production usually resulted in 
high fees. One small arms producer, for 
example, received a total of $12,801,- 
620.16 in fees during thirty-two months of 
operations. In 1943, when output was at 
its peak, the firm averaged over $600,000 
per month in fees. Though the fixed fees 
had been reduced three times, an inspect- 
ing officer in October 1944 still considered 
them to be out of line. 19 


No account of ammunition production 
would be complete without a word about 

safety. The operations at ammunition 
plants, where huge quantities of TNT, 
RDX, and smokeless powder were handled 
by relatively inexperienced workers, were 
potentially the most hazardous in the 
world. But Ordnance and its industrial 
contractors took such effective safety pre- 
cautions that the ammunition industry 
proved to be one of the safest in wartime 
America. These safety measures have a 
particular relevance to the preceding para- 
graphs on efficiency and cost of produc- 
tion, for, in the minds of Ordnance officers, 
safety was more important than either 
efficiency or economy. Speaking at a meet- 
ing of plant managers in the summer of 
1944 Colonel Gerber declared: "I cannot 
overemphasize safety. . . . Safety comes 
first, quality comes second, and efficiency 
comes later." At the same meeting Brig. 
Gen. Roswell E. Hardy, Chief of the Am- 
munition Division, said: "I don't care how 
much it costs or how much time it takes, 
I want safety and quality." 20 This atti- 
tude was supported by many coldly prac- 
tical considerations as well as by the ever 
present desire to safeguard the lives of 
employees. Fires and explosions were to be 
avoided because they destroyed badly 
needed facilities, stopped production, and 
cost a great deal of money. Older Ord- 
nance officers remembered the disastrous 
explosion at the T. A. Gillespie Company 
plant at Perth Amboy in World War I that 
took the lives of scores of workmen and 
destroyed over three hundred buildings. 
Furthermore, in a tight labor market the 
danger of explosions was a serious handi- 

10 This subject is discussed in Smith, Army and 
Economic Mobilization, Chapter XII. 

40 Admin Cir 14a, FDAP, 10 Aug 44, sub: Notes 
Taken at the Joint Gonf. . . , copy in Hiat, 



cap to the recruitment of needed work- 
ers.' 21 

From the very beginning, safety was 
built into the ammunition plants. The ex- 
plosion in the late summer of 1940 at the 
privately owned Hercules Powder Com- 
pany plant at Kenvil, New Jersey, served 
as a dramatic and timely warning to the 
whole industry. It revealed the hitherto 
unknown fact that small-grain smokeless 
powder would explode if the depth of the 
mixture exceeded a certain critical point. 
The layouts of the Radford and Indiana 
plants then under construction were im- 
mediately revised to incorporate additional 
safety features. Operations were thereafter 
more widely separated so that a blast in 
one unit would not set off another unit. 
Workers were trained to be safety con- 
scious and were required to observe rigid 
safety rules. Elemental good housekeep- 
ing, including sweeping and scrubbing, was 
stressed constantly. Ordnance sought the 
aid of the Surgeon General's Office and 
the U.S. Public Health Service to protect 
the health of workers. As a safeguard 
against the toxic effects of TNT a special 
soap was developed that turned violet until 
a worker had washed all traces of TNT 
from his body. Whenever an explosion 
occurred, its cause and prevention were 
studied by a flying team of experts and 
warnings were immediately sent to all 
other plants. 

During the early months of the war the 
safety record left much to be desired. Be- 
tween December 1941 and June 1942 there 
were three explosions that killed a total 
of 83 persons and caused property damage 
of more than one million dollars. Two of 
these three incidents occurred at the Iowa 
Ordnance Plant where an explosion in 
December 1941 caused 13 deaths, and 
another in March 1942 took 22 lives. The 

worst disaster in an Ordnance plant dur- 
ing World War II occurred at the Elwood 
Plant on 5 June 1942 when an explosion 
occurred in a building where antitank 
mines were being loaded. Forty-eight per- 
sons were killed, and property damage 
amounted to $489,000. To see these ex- 
plosions in perspective we need to view 
them in relation to other wartime disasters. 
Each of the worst Ordnance explosions 
was comparable, in terms of lives lost and 
property damaged, to the crash of a single 
commercial airliner. When compared to the 
Navy's Port Chicago explosion in July 
1944, when 250 persons were killed, and 
over 1,000 injured, or to the disasters of 
World War I, the accidents at Ordnance 
plants appear small. 

To strengthen the Ordnance safety or- 
ganization, General Campbell established 
an Explosives Safety Branch (later re- 
named the Safety and Security Branch) 
in Chicago in July 1942. The new office 
was headed at first by Col. Francis H. 
Miles, Jr., and later by Colonel Gerber 
who was at the same time head of 
FDAP. 22 This office reviewed the design 
of new plants before their construction, 
prepared safety manuals and bulletins, 
investigated fires and explosions, and kept 
the Chief of Ordnance informed on mat- 
ters of safety. It launched an intensive 
program for training "safety auditors" who 
inspected plants, and it outlined plans for 
training foremen and workers in safety 

31 For an account of disastrous explosions in 
the United States and elsewhere before 1930, see 
Ralph Assheton, History of Explosions on Which 
the American Table of Distances Was Based, In- 
cluding Other Explosions of Large Quantities of 
Explosives, (Wilmington, Del.: The Press of the 
Charles L. Story Company, 1930). 

22 History, Safety and Security Branch, OCO, I, 
pp. 12-15 an£ l appended documents, OHF. 



Box of Bulk TNT being processed in the melt unit is handled by a workman wearing 
nonsparking safety shoes made without nails. 

methods. This latter type of training was 
considered the one most important means 
of preventing accidents. In its early days 
the branch received helpful advice and 
assistance from civilian agencies such as 
the National Safety Council, Underwriters' 
Laboratories, Illinois Institute of Technol- 
ogy, and metropolitan fire and police de- 
partments. 23 

In the twelve months following estab- 
lishment of the safety office in Chicago the 
accident frequency rate at GOCO plants 
was cut by more than half. It declined 
further in 1944, and in 1945 the ammuni- 
tion industry had the best safety record of 
all manufacturing industries in the United 
States, surpassing even the traditional 
leader, the ladies' garment industry. Con- 

gressman Engel termed the Ordnance 
safety achievement "one of the most amaz- 
ing records made in the history of any 
industry." 24 The Morgantown Ordnance 
Works, to cite one outstanding example, 
operated for nearly four years, accumulat- 
ing approximately nine million manhours, 
without a single lost-time injury. A note- 

23 Memo of Col Crosby Field to Miles, 19 Nov 
42, sub: Progress Rpt, copy in History Safety and 
Security Branch, OCO, OHF. For an account of 
the training and duties of "safety auditors," see 
the progress report attached to Colonel Field's 
memo. For a published volume of lectures de- 
livered in the fall of 1943 at the Chicago office 
of the Safety and Security Branch, see Clark S. 
Robinson, Explosions, Their Anatomy and Des- 
tructiveness (New York: McGraw Hill, 1944). 

24 Engel, op. cit. 



Inspector at Volunteer Ordnance Works taking a sample of TNT for testing at 
an ordnance laboratory. 

worthy feature of the World War II rec- 
ord is that more than 95 percent of all 
disabling injuries at ammunition plants 
were not due to explosives but to run-of- 
the-mill accidents such as falling off a 
ladder or being hit by a truck. 25 

Technological Advances 

Some of the most remarkable technolog- 
ical advances of World War II occurred 
in the ammunition industry. The field was 
wide open for the development of new 
processes and new machinery, for there 
had been virtually no mass production of 
military ammunition in the United States 
for over two decades. Small-scale produc- 
tion of powder and explosives by Pica- 

tinny Arsenal and by several commercial 
firms had served to keep alive some 
knowledge of production methods and to 
make important advances in certain areas. 
Pilot production lines at Frankford Ar- 
senal served a similar purpose for metal 
components. But small-scale production 
does not justify construction of the costly 
and intricate machines suitable for mass 

25 (1) Hist Rpt, FDAP, I, Gen Hist Aug 42- 
Sep 45, p. 39; (2) Engel, op. cit.; (3) "Shot, Shell 
and Bombs," Fortune (September 1945) pp. 
1 3 1 — 3 6, 260. (4) Rpt on Safety, Incl to Memo, 
Gerber for Campbell, 7 May 45, in Safety and 
Security Br files; (5) Stat Review World War II, 
issued by ASF Contl Div, p. 165. This last refer- 
ence covers all Ordnance installations and shows 
that the accident frequency rate in Ordnance was 
far lower than at all other ASF installations. 



production, nor does it always clearly re- 
veal the problems of the high-speed pro- 
duction line. Ordnance officers were well 
aware of these limitations during the peace 
years but were unable to do much about 
them until 1938-40. Long before the 
beginning of the emergency period Ord- 
nance experts had seen the need for auto- 
matic machines to Toad detonators, for ex- 
ample, but the problems involved in 
designing them were so baffling, and the 
prospects of profit so dim, that few ma- 
chine designers could be persuaded to take 
any interest in the matter. The whole list 
of World War II technological advances 
made under pressure of war would fill a 
volume; only a few may be mentioned 
here. Reverse nitration of TNT, toluene 
from petroleum, mechanization of loading, 
and the development and use of wood 
pulp, RDX, and rocket powder — these 
have been selected because of their in- 
trinsic importance and illustrative value. 20 

Reverse Nitration of TNT 

During the 1941-42 period the inade- 
quate supply of TNT for high-explosive 
bombs and shells was a major problem for 
Ordnance. Because the shortage had been 
foreseen, plans were made to use a sub- 
stitute explosive known as amatol (a mix- 
ture of TNT and ammonium nitrate) for 
shell or bomb loading until new TNT 
plants came into full production. 27 Quan- 
tities of ammonium nitrate were imported 
from Canada and maximum use was made 
of commercial ammonium nitrate facilities 
in the United States to stretch available 
supplies of TNT as far as possible. Admiral 
Blandy reported that the TNT shortage 
was so acute he had to dole TNT out to 
the Navy "with a teaspoon." 28 But the 
shortage suddenly disappeared when a 

new process appeared on the scene almost 
by accident. For many years before the 
emergency, the method used by TNT 
makers, and the only method considered 
safe, had been to add the nitric acid to 
the toluene. But in 1941 Lt. Col. John P. 
Harris visited a small Canadian TNT 
plant at Beloeil, near Montreal. His visit 
to this plant had not been planned in ad- 
vance but was added at the end of his 
itinerary to fill in the time before his train 
left. To his surprise, he found the plant 
was "doing things backward" by putting 
toluene into the acid instead of putting 
acid into the toluene,- thereby making 
TNT much faster. When Colonel Harris 
reported what he had seen at the Canadian 
plant, American TNT makers were skepti- 
cal. They were reluctant to change tried 
and proven methods, but a successful trial 
run of the new process at the partly built 
Keystone Plant at Meadville, Pennsylvania, 
convinced them. Soon the reverse nitration 
process was adopted for all TNT produc- 
tion in the United States. The result was 
a trebling of TNT output. Lines designed 

20 ( 1 ) Campbell, "Artillery Ammunition Pro- 
duction," Army Ordnance, XIX, No. 113 (March 
-April 1939), 273; (2) Col William E. Lamed, 
"Mechanized Ammunition Manufacture," Army 
Ordnance, XXIV, No. 138, (May-June 
'943) 504-10. For an account of improved 
techniques in smokeless powder production, see 
the study by H. LaTourette, Historical Report 
on Smokeless Powder Program of the Ordnance 
Department in World War II, PSP 17, OHF. The 
official histories of Frankford and Picatinny pro- 
vide further detailed information on prewar 

21 Amatol was developed in England during 
World War I because of the shortage of TNT. 
History, Picatinny Arsenal, Manufacturing Group, 
vol. I. pt. 1, pp. 68-72. 

28 Quoted in Memo, Brig Gen Campbell for 
M. J. Madigan, OUSW, 14 Nov 41, OUSW 
Madigan files (Ord Gen). 



to turn out 33,000 pounds a day produced 
more than 100,000 pounds a day. The 
need for TNT substitutes vanished and the 
price dropped from twelve cents a pound 
to six cents. 29 

Toluene from Petroleum 

Development of a new means of produc- 
ing toluene, 30 the basic raw material from 
which TNT is made, was another highly 
significant technological advance of World 
War II. The importance of this chemical 
stems from the fact that nearly half of 
every pound of TNT — trinitrotoluene — 
must come from toluene. In World War I 
toluene was derived from coal as a by- 
product of coke ovens, and some was 
extracted from illuminating gas. But the 
supply was so limited that the Assistant 
Secretary of War, Benedict Crowell, later 
called it "the greatest and most pressing 
of all the problems in regard to the 
existing raw materials." 31 In contrast, 
during World War II, high-explosives 
production was never seriously hampered 
by lack of toluene. Production of toluene 
by Ordnance-sponsored facilities reached 
such a high level in 1943 that large quan- 
tities were diverted from ammunition to 
aviation gasoline. 32 

The groundwork for this achievement 
was laid during the 1930's by Picatinny 
Arsenal, Maj. John P. Harris, and the 
Standard Oil Company of New Jersey. As 
early as 1927 Standard had obtained pa- 
tent rights from a German firm to use a 
process for producing toluene from pe- 
troleum. Tests were made on small samples 
at Picatinny during the 1930's, and in 
1939 Major Harris began negotiations 
with Standard to prepare for the day when 
the striking power of the nation's military 
forces would depend on abundant supplies 

of TNT. In, June 1940 Ordnance placed 
a contract with Standard for two tank 
cars of toluene to be produced in the sev- 
eral refineries owned by the company and 
its affiliates. The raw material had to 
travel to three widely separated plants in 
Texas, Louisiana, and New Jersey before 
the process was completed and the first 
tank car of synthetic toluene ever made 
was delivered to Ordnance. After test at 
DuPont's TNT plant in Wiscons-n, Ord- 
nance signed a contract with the Humble 
Oil and Refining Company, Standard's 
affiliate in Texas, for the specific purpose 
of building a toluene plant, the Baytown 
Ordnance Works, on a site adjacent to 
its Baytown refinery in Texas. By October 
1942 this plant was producing toluene at 
the rate of 65 million gallons per year — 
compared with less than 9 million gallons 
total toluene production in the United 
States in 1918. 33 

39 ( 1 ) Interv with Col John P. Harris, 19 Jan 
53 ; ( 2 ) Report on Explosives Capacity vs. Re- 
quirements, op. cit., pp. 13-14; (3) "Shot, Shell 
and Bombs," Fortune, (September 1945), p. 260. 
(4) Campbell, op. cit., p. 271; (5) Barnes, 
Weapons of World War II, p. 76; (6) Engel, 
op. cit.; (7) Hist, FDAP, Aug 42-Sep 45, vol. 
I, app. 10, p. 25. 

30 The words "toluene" and "toluol" are virtu- 
ally interchangeable. Toluene is the chemical 
name for the compound C7H8 which, when 
nitrated, produces TNT. Toluol is commonly 
used to designate a coal-tar product high in 
toluene content. 

31 Crowell, America's Munitions iQiy-18, p. 

32 Capt Vern C. Whitman, Toluene for War, 
1940-45, Nov 45, OHF. This history of over two 
hundred typed pages, plus documents, treats the 
entire toluene program in considerable detail. 

33 (1) Ibid; (2) History of Baytown Ord 
Works, vol. I, OHF; (3) 18 Dates With Destiny, 
a pamphlet published by the Standard Oil Com- 
pany, New Jersey, copy attached as exhibit to 
Toluene for War 1940-45. 




The superexplosive known as RDX ( Re- 
search Department Explosive ) or cyclonite, 
with 30 percent more power than TNT, 
was not new at the outbreak of World 
War II. 34 It had been known for many 
years but had never been produced com- 
mercially in this country. It was considered 
too sensitive for use as a bursting charge 
and no more effective than tetryl as a 
booster. Ordnance was reluctant to em- 
bark upon large-scale production of RDX, 
a new and untried endeavor, in view of 
the existing capacity for production of 
TNT. 35 But in May 1941, when the 
British Purchasing Commission requested 
the United States to produce 6,500 tons 
and the U.S. Navy expressed a desire for 
20 tons per day, Ordnance constructed a 
completely new RDX plant, the Wabash 
Ordnance Works, at a cost of $70 million. 
Starting production in November 1942, 
Wabash attained a monthly capacity of 
over five million pounds of RDX which 
was converted into various compositions. 36 

As demands for RDX skyrocketed after 
Pearl Harbor, Ordnance built another fa- 
cility, Holston Ordnance Works, to use a 
more economical process than the British 
nitration method used at Wabash. This 
new process, developed by Canadian and 
American investigators through the Na- 
tional Defense Research Committee 
(NDRC), enabled Holston by May 1945 
to reach a monthly capacity of 27 million 
pounds and cut the estimated cost in half. 
Holston was operated by the Tennessee 
Eastman Corporation, which had taken a 
leading part in the development work. The 
support auxiliary facilities that provided 
raw material for Holston were the Morgan- 
town Ordnance Works that produced am- 
monia, methanol, formaldehyde, and hex- 

amine, and the Cherokee Ordnance Works 
that made formaldehyde and hexamine. 37 

Wood Pulp and Cotton Linters 

Before the war the standard practice for 
making smokeless powder called for the 
treatment of bleached cotton linters 38 
with a mixture of nitric and sulfuric acid. 

34 The Ordnance historical file contains a de- 
tailed and authoritative 3-volume study on the 
subject by Dr. Robert O. Bengis, Super Explosive 
Program, RDX and Its Components A, B, and 
C, Nov 45, PSP 16. 

35 In Scientists Against Time, Pages 256—57, 
Baxter criticized Ordnance for its lack of interest 
in creating new facilities for RDX production. 
Ordnance men contended that the civilian scien- 
tists in NDRC did not fully realize the problems 
involved in shifting a big production program 
from one commodity to another when both time 
and materials were at a premium. Interv with 
Bengis, Ammo Div, OCO, 1 7 Jul 53. 

36 Beside its pure form, RDX was produced in 
three compositions. Composition "A," a m ; xture 
of 90 percent RDX and 10 percent desensitizing 
agent, was used for press loading. Composition 
"B," about 60 percent RDX and 40 percent TNT, 
was used for bombs and other ammunition where 
cast loading was required. Composition "C," 
about 88 percent RDX and 12 percent plasticizer, 
was used to- form demolition charges. Lewis and 
Rosa, Ammo, 1 Jul 40-3 1 Aug 45, p. 39. 

37 For details on the development of the new 
process and construction of Holston see Bengis, 
op. cit., and History, Holston Ordnance Works, 
Volume I, OHF. The latter volume contains a 
fascinating narrative by Maj. Karl P, Doerr con- 
cerning the removal from the Holston plant site 
of buried explosive materials left over from World 
War I. The NDRC contribution is described in 
Preparation and Testing of Explosives, Summary 
Technical Report of Division 8, NDRC, in Ord- 
nance R&D Reports Section, dtd 1946. This 
report also contains an extensive bibliography. 

38 "Cotton linters" are the lint or fuzz remain- 
ing on cotton seeds after the cotton has been 
removed. For a more detailed account of their 
use, see Cotton Linters and 'Wood Pulp Uses in 
Smokeless Powder Program, November 1945, 
OHF. This study provides a bibliography and an 
appendix containing significant documents. See 
also Smokeless Powder During World War II, pp. 
gff, OHF. 



In the summer of 1 94 1 it became apparent 
to Ordnance that, even with a good cotton 
linters crop and capacity operation of 
bleacheries, the supply of linters for pow- 
der would fall short of requirements. Ord- 
nance therefore turned to the use of a 
special type of wood pulp that was avail- 
able in quantity, was suitable for most 
kinds of powder, and was cheaper than 
cotton linters. The Hercules Powder Com- 
pany had made smokeless powder from 
wood pulp for a number of years, and 
Ordnance had found the product fully 
acceptable. Use of wood pulp as a supple- 
ment to, but not a replacement for, cotton 
linters was approved promptly except for 
rifle powder, Navy rocket powder, and 
certain other uses. New machinery was 
installed first at Indiana and Radford, and 
then at other plants. Soon most plants had 
one or two lines for nitrating cotton, an 
equal number for nitrating wood pulp, 
and several "swing lines" adaptable to the 
use of either material. 

From January 1942 to the end of the 
war, Ordnance plants used roughly equal 
quantities of cotton linters and wood pulp. 
There was never a concurrent shortage of 
both materials, although there were times 
when the supply of one ran low or was 
expected to run low. At such times Ord- 
nance drew upon its inventories while it 
converted the "swing lines" to meet the 
situation. The use of wood pulp doubled 
the existing supply of cellulose for powder 
and eliminated a serious potential bottle- 
neck in ammunition production. 

Rocket Powder 

When development of military rockets 
was undertaken in the United States in 
1940-41, one of the most troublesome 
problems was the manufacture of suitable 

propellants. Double-base smokeless pow- 
der 30 was a satisfactory rocket propellant 
but its production in the large, long-burn- 
ing, thick-web sticks or "grains" needed 
for rockets was a difficult undertaking. 
The accepted method of producing smoke- 
less powder in this country in 1940 was 
by the solvent-extrusion process in which 
the nitrocellulose and nitroglycerine were 
mixed with a volatile solvent (alcohol or 
acetone) to form a doughlike substance 
that could be pressed into grains of the de- 
sired shape. The solvent was then removed 
by evaporation. As solvent powder was 
used for the 2.36-inch bazooka rocket and 
for the 4.5-inch rocket, lines for its pro- 
duction were built at the Radford and 
Sunflower Works. For the small, thin-web 
powder this production method proved 
satisfactory, but when it was employed for 
large, thick-web grains two difficulties 
arose — the long time required for the 
sticks to dry out, and the distortions in 
the sticks that occurred during the drying 
period. The obvious answer was to turn 
from solvent powder to solventless or dry- 
extruded powder, but American producers 
lacked both the experience and the heavy 
equipment needed for producing solvent- 
less rocket powder. British firms made 
large thick-web grains of cordite, the 
standard British smokeless powder, by 
rolling the powder into a sheet, winding 
the sheet into a roll, and then placing the 
roll, still dry, into a press that extruded it 
at moderate temperature and high pres- 

3U The term "smokeless powder" is misleading, 
for it is neither smokeless nor a powder. The 
individual "grains" in conventional artillery am- 
munition may be an inch or more in length while 
the grains or sticks of rocket powder may be 
several feet long. The large sticks are perforated, 
and the term "web thickness" refers to the thick- 
ness of the wall between perforations. 



In 1 94 1 the National Defense Research 
Committee undertook study of dry- 
extrusion processes, as did the Hercules 
Powder Company under contract with 
Ordnance. By December 1941 the dry- 
extrusion press set up by NDRC represen- 
tatives at the California Institute of 
Technology produced sticks nearly an inch 
in diameter, and by the early months of 
1942 a larger press was extruding sticks 
up to three inches in diameter. In February 
1942, Hercules was authorized to establish 
a pilot plant with a capacity of twelve 
hundred pounds per day at the Radford 
Works. Soon the Soviet Union requested 
thirty-six thousand long tons of solvent- 
less rocket powder to augment its own 
production, and authority was granted 
Ordnance to build an addition to the Sun- 
flower Ordnance Works in Kansas to fill 
the Russian request. By the middle of 1943 
the U.S. rocket program had reached the 
point where large new requirements for 
solventless powder were placed on Ord- 
nance, and thereafter the requirements 
steadily increased. In January 1945 the 
over-all requirements reached a peak of 
more than eighteen million pounds per 
month, and plans were made to expand 
facilities at the Sunflower, Badger, and 
Indiana Works. Without the dry-extrusion 
process developed for making solventless 
rocket powder the extensive employment of 
rockets by U.S. military forces in 1944-45 
would not have been possible. 40 

Mechanization of Loading Operations 

In the tedious process of loading and 
assembling complete rounds of ammuni- 
tion, industry and Ordnance made count- 
less improvements. The simple hand fix- 
tures and machines in use at Picatinny 
Arsenal in 1939 gave way to high-speed 

mechanisms that operated as nearly auto- 
matically as possible. One striking example 
was the detonator-loading machine de- 
veloped under contract with Picatinny by 
R. A. Jones and Company, an Ohio man- 
ufacturer of automatic machines. As 
several detonators, each contain-' ng a 
sensitive explosive, were needed in a single 
fuze, and fuzes were needed by the mil- 
lions, the demand for speedy production 
was great. After many failures, R. A. 
Jones and Company finally developed a 
detonator-loading machine with which 6 
operators could load 8,000 detonators in 
one 8-hour shift, as compared with 7,500 
formerly loaded in the same time by from 
seventeen to twenty operators. 41 

Ordnance introduced a new method of 
loading TNT that was considered to be 
one of the greatest developments in the 
shell-loading industry, resulting in great 
savings in time, money, and manpower. In 
the older process, molten INT was poured 
into the shell where it cooled and solidified. 
Because the TNT contracted as it cooled, 
and left a hollow in the center, the pour- 
ing was done in layers, the hollow in each 
layer being opened up by hand to permit 
molten TNT to flow into it when the next 
layer was poured. Each shell was thus 
practically tailor-made as each was loaded 
individually and by hand. In the new 

40 (i) Dr. E. H. Hemingway and E. N. Smith, 
Historical Rpt on Solventless Rocket Powder 
Program, Jul 45, OHF; (2) Baxter, Scientists 
Against Time, pp. 202-05; (3) John E. Burchard, 
Rockets, Guns, and Targets (Boston: Little, 
Brown and Company, 1948); (4) Notes on Rock- 
ets and Rocket Powder, a collection of documents 
in OHF. 

41 (i) Col. William E. Larned, "Mechanized 
Ammunition Manufacture," Army Ordnance , 
XXIV, No. 138 (May-June 1943), 504-10; (2) 
Hist, Picatinny Arsenal, Mfg Gp, II, pt. 2. The 
Picatinny history contains many excellent photo- 
graphs of machines and processes. 



Workmen Pouring Molten TNT Into 155-mm. Shells at Charleston Ordnance 
Depot, October 1941. 

method the shells were loaded in groups by 
a multiple volumetric loading machine and 
were then transferred to another machine, 
a multiple core melter, which forced a 
heated probe into the center of each shell 
to melt out all porosity and crystals. As 
these probes were withdrawn, molten TNT 
was quickly poured into the cavity. The 
Chief of Ordnance reported late in 1944 
that this new procedure would save nearly 
five million man-hours during the year 
ahead. 42 

In making ammunition, minute quanti- 
ties of sensitive explosives, such as tetryl, 
must be placed in small cups or cavities in 
primers, detonators, boosters, and other 
components. To permit their speedy han- 
dling, the explosives are pressed into pellets 
by using the same type of machinery 
employed in making pills or candy. In 
cooperation with Picatinny Arsenal, the F. 

J. Stokes Machine Company of Pennsyl- 
vania developed rotary presses that poured 
out pellets in any size or shape in a con- 
tinuous stream. After the pellets were 
made they had to be placed in small 
booster cups by hand. Not only was it 
slow and tedious work, but handling the 
pellets presented a health hazard. This 
phase of the problem was finally solved 
when the Stokes Company produced a 
rotary pelleting press that automatically 
inserted pellets into booster cups at a 
speed of 75 units per minute. When ma- 
chines of this type were put to use 
throughout the ammunition industry the 
dividends in terms of increased output, 
reduced costs, saving in floor space, and 

42 (1) Rpt of CofOrd for SW on Ord Dept 
Activities, 1 Nov 44, and 20 Dec 44, Barnes file, 



reduction of personnel requirements were 
tremendous. 43 

At the bag loading plants, where powder 
for large-caliber separate loading ammuni- 
tion was put into cloth bags, there were 
equally important improvements in ma- 
chines and equipment. Instead of wrap- 
ping the powder charges by hand, as was 
the standard practice, machines that were 
almost entirely automatic were introduced, 
with resultant saving of manpower and 
increase of production by over 50 percent. 
Changes in design of propelling charges 
were introduced to permit application of 
mass production principles in cutting the 
cloth and assembling the powder bags. 44 

There was no end to the improvements 
that could be made in the loading of am- 
munition, nor was there any lack of en- 
gineering skill and imagination among the 
World War II producers. The ceiling on 
technological advances was set by the de- 
mand for production, the funds available, 
and requirements of other programs for 
machines and materials. The end of the 
war in 1945 momentarily stopped the in- 
tense drive for increased mechanization of 
bomb and shell loading, but the process 
continued on into the postwar years. 45 

Speeding production and conserving 
manpower were highly important consid- 
erations throughout World War II, but 
they were not the only considerations in 
the minds of Ordnance ammunition offi- 
cers. In commenting on the trend toward 
more and more mechanization of opera- 
tions at the loading plants, Brig. Gen. Merle 
H. Davis, postwar chief of the Ammunition 
Division, observed that the most impor- 
tant result was not increased output nor 
reduction in the number of employees, 
great as those considerations were. "The 
most important dividend," he wrote, "is a 
better and more uniform product, with a 

reduction in the errors that can be made 
by human beings." 48 

With reduction of errors and elimination 
of imperfections its constant goals, the 
Ammunition Division set up elaborate in- 
spection procedures for metal components, 
powder, and explosives, and stood firm 
against manufacturers' requests for waivers 
of inspection standards. Inspection of am- 
munition was rigid but was not intended 
to be arbitrary. Throughout the produc- 
tion phase, efforts were made to keep 
quality high even if it meant holding up 
production. The Ordnance philosophy was 
well expressed by General Hardy when he 
advised the district chiefs that, "We don't 
save anybody any expense and we cause 
plenty of trouble when we let anything of 
an inferior nature get into the hands of 
troops." 47 

Balancing Production, 

In theory, the procurement of all chem- 
icals and metal components should have 

43 (r) Larned, op. cit., (2) Hist, Picatinny 
Arsenal, Mfg Gp, I, pt. 2. 

44 Report on Powder, Explosives, and Loading 
Capacity, pt. II, 18 Feb 43, copy in OO 675/889 
Misc Incl file. 

45 German munitions-makers also made rapid 
technological advances and in some cases were 
more successful than British and American pro- 
ducers. For examples, see PSP 1 7, Propellants- 
Smokeless Powder during World War II, pp. 57- 
7a. For a statement of the problems encountered 
in England in mechanizing these operations, see 
Postan, British War Production, pp. 174-83. The 
Royal Ordnance Factories were planned very 
largely as "manufactories" where large numbers 
of unskilled workers would perform the opera- 
tions by hand or with small tools. For reasons of 
safety, individual units were kept small and 
much' dispersed, thus making impractical the use 
of conveyor belts and heavy machinery. 

46 Brig. Gen. Merle H. Davis, "Explosive Am- 
munition Production," Ordnance, XXXVI, No. 
192 (May-June 1952). 934~36. 

47 Rpt of Gonf Ord Dist Chiefs, Philadelphia, 
8 Oct 43, p. 19, OHF. 



been kept in balance so that the number or 
quantity of each exactly matched the 
needs of the loading plants. But such 
theoretical exactness was impossible to at- 
tain in practice. As some components were 
easier for industry to produce than 
were others, production of the easy-to- 
manufacture items surged ahead and got 
out of line. Shells, bomb bodies, and 
cartridge cases, for example, came into 
quantity production during 1941 well 
ahead of powder, explosives, and fuzes. 
After Pearl Harbor the unbalance grew 
worse because of the public statements by 
high-ranking government officials urging 
every war plant to speed production to the 
maximum. To arrest the trend toward un- 
balance, the Industrial Service issued in 
December 1941 a directive to the districts 
and other field installations to expedite 
only those items appearing on a "Short 
List" to be issued weekly. 48 

The "Short List" helped, but it did not 
work miracles. It was not possible to 
achieve exact mathematical balance of all 
components by curtailing or stopping com- 
pletely the production of fast items, for 
that would have resulted in complete loss 
of facilities through their conversion to 
other work, loss of labor force, or, in the 
case of smaller plants, bankruptcy. There 
were also many other factors that entered 
the picture — changing requirements, slow 
deliveries on machine tools, lack of raw 
materials, technical difficulties in produc- 
tion of certain components, and occasional 
plant shutdowns due to strikes, fires, or 
explosions. Use of the "Short List" brought 
criticism on Ordnance because some of its 
contractors were working only half their 
maximum capacity at a time when the 
whole nation was being mobilized for war. 
These were contractors producing fast 
items and they had to be held back until 

plants making slow items caught up with 
them. Ordnance reported that about 10 
percent of its contractors were responsible 
for items on the "Short List" and that 
half of these were still tooling-up and were 
not yet in production. Other plants had 
unbalanced production lines because the 
tools needed for some items had not been 
delivered; others reported interruptions in 
their raw materials supply as the source of 
their troubles. 49 

During the 1941-42 period the Am- 
munition Division was not at all satis- 
fied with the means at its disposal for 
balancing production. One of the chief 
difficulties lay in the lack of flexibility in 
dealing with industry. The Division could 
institute procurement only on programs 
for which funds were available, and these 
programs often bore no relation to the 
needs of industry or to production poten- 
tial. With ammunition, as with other types 
of materiel, Ordnance could not forecast 
its requirements long in advance and take 
the steps necessary to prepare industry for 
production, to eliminate bottlenecks, or 
smooth out uneven spots in the schedule. 
Contractors already engaged in production 
were sometimes faced with interruption in 
production, and potential contractors re- 
quiring some preparation or additional 
equipment were often unable to proceed 
until an order was available under a 
specific program. Savings on one fund 

48 ( 1 ) Memo, Brig Gen Lewis for all districts. 
. . , 13 Dec 41, sub: Acceleration of Prod. . . ; 
(2) Memo, Brig Gen Lewis for all districts . . . . 
22 Dec 41, sub: Expediting Prod. Both in History, 
Production Service Branch, OHF. 

40 ( 1 ) Memo, Milo J. Marsh for Brig Gen 
Hcrraon F. Safford, 21 Nov 42, sub: Balancing 
of Ord Prod, Ord ExecO file. This memo cites 
the complaint made by Mr. Donald Nelson to 
General Somervell on 28 April 1942 and the 
Ordnance comment of 13 May 1942. 



could be applied to another fund only by 
going through the cumbersome process of 
getting approval from higher authority. 
The result was a long lag in getting new 
production started. Deliveries against new 
requirements were always behind schedule. 
In 1 94 1 the chief of the Ammunition Di- 
vision summarized the situation as fol- 

A proper description of our present situa- 
tion is that we are trying to run an arsenal 
the size of the United States without the 
flexibility of existing government arsenal pro- 
cedure. We are trying to operate a mass 
production job involving numerous produc- 
tion changes without any anticipatory action 
regarding procurement until the funds are 
available and the requirements are an- 
nounced in the form of an official program 
specifying delivery schedules. To put it 
another way, we are in the position of an 
automobile company which takes no action 
as regards the procurement and production 
of new equipment, raw materials, and parts 
in planning the coming year's production, 
when the standard practice in that industry 
is to start such activity 18 to 24 months 
before the model is announced. 50 

With adoption of the Army Supply Pro- 
gram early in 1942 an effort was made by 
ASF to provide long-range procurement 
forecasts for all types of ordnance. The 
emphasis shifted from monthly capacity 
objectives to yearly quantity objectives. At 
the same time, fiscal regulations were re- 
laxed so that the necessity for earmarking 
each increase for a specific production 
order was no longer necessary. In the 
summer of 1942 the Ammunition Division 
under General Hardy set machinery in 
motion to improve procedures for keeping 
ammunition production in balance. The 
former practice of forecasting production 
by adding together all theoretical maxi- 
mum monthly capacities, and multiplying 
the total by the number of months in the 

period, was abandoned. Production fore- 
casts for each component were made in 
terms of realistic capacity figures, not 
theoretical maximums, and in terms of 
orders actually placed. Production of com- 
plete rounds was then scheduled in terms 
of planned delivery of components to the 
loading plants, with the components in 
shortest supply setting the pace for all the 

The new procedure centered around use 
of "preliminary work plan sheets" issued 
each month by the Ammunition Division. 
These planning sheets showed the status of 
all metal components in terms of realistic 
production forecasts and were used to 
determine feasible loading schedules. They 
placed on one sheet of paper all procure- 
ment data concerning a single component 
by district, by manufacturer, and by 
quantities expected in the months ahead. 
Although used at first only for analyzing 
and planning procurement the sheets were 
soon given the status of legal documents 
authorizing the districts to procure. 51 The 
value of the PWP sheets is attested to by 
the fact that they were not only used dur- 
ing the rest of the war but were continued 
into the postwar years. At the same time 
that the new scheduling procedures were 
being put into effect in the latter half of 
1942, Industry Integration Committees 

50 Memo, Chief of Ammo Div for Chief of Ind 
Serv, 9 Jul 41, sub: Proc Procedure, quoted in 
full in draft of Contract Negotiation and Admin- 
istration, Ord Dept, ASF, pp. .51-54 OHF. Many 
other memos dealing with the same subject are 
also quoted in this study. 

51 ( 1 ) Statement by Hardy quoted in Contr 
Negotiation and Admin, pp. 88-95; (a) Lewis 
and Rosa, Ammo, 1 Jul 40-3 1 Aug 45, pp. 95- 
96; (3) Interv with Nathan Nachamkin, Chief, 
Opns Sec, Ammo Br, OCO, 3 Aug 53. See also 
folder marked Original Army Supply Program, 
Feb 24, 194a. 



were formed to help balance production 
by raising the output of plants working on 
problem items. 

Along with the PWP sheets for com- 
ponents the Ammunition Division drew up 
forecast sheets for end items showing the 
quantity of complete rounds of ammuni- 
tion expected to be available each month 
for distribution to troops. They were based 
on known production capacity and were 
kept within the requirements set by the 
Army Supply Program. They constituted 
the basic control documents for the FDAP 
in regulating activities at the loading plants 
and were used by the military high com- 
mand to plan the allocation of ammunition 
to the Ground Forces, Air Forces, Navy, 
Marines, and lend-lease recipients. Even 
before the new system was put in operation 
the emphasis switched from maximum pro- 
duction at any cost to curtailment and 
leveling off of production in terms of com- 
bat experience and existing stock levels. 
Downward revision of the Army Supply 
Program was so substantial in the latter 
half of 1942 that the Chief of Ordnance 
appointed a special board of officers to 
review all matters relating to the readjust- 
ment of production schedules. 52 

A drastic reduction of bomb require- 
ments was made early in 1943 with con- 
sequent reduction in the demand for TNT, 
ammonium nitrate, metal components, and 
loading capacity. Some plants that were 
still under construction were dropped from 
the program, and in many other plants 
individual lines not needed to meet the new 
requirements were eliminated. 53 Several 
factors other than requirements were taken 
into account in deciding which plants were 
to close and which were to stay open. Cost 
of production, flexibility, labor supply, lo- 
cation with respect to other plants, and 
the variety of items produced — all these 

were considered. 54 Cutbacks in certain 
items made it impossible to keep metal 
components in balance. Ordnance re- 
ported in September 1942 that its powder 
and explosives production was in balance 
with the loading schedule but that for 
some metal components there was no stock 
on hand and with others there was a 2- 
year supply in stock. The former were new 
items that were in great demand but were 
not yet in full production. The latter were 
supplies made surplus by sudden and dras- 
tic cuts in requirements. 55 

The cutback policy was reinforced in the 
fall of 1943 when the War Department 
Procurement Review Board, headed by 
Maj. Gen. Frank R. McCoy, urged curtail- 
ment of production on the ground that 
excessive stocks of many kinds had been 
built up both in the ZI and in overseas 
theaters. 56 Ordnance contended that am- 
munition stocks were not excessive, and 

52 This board was composed of Brig. Gen. 
Hermon F. Safford, Col Herbert R. White, and 
Col. John C. Raaen. See Ilsley, Facilities Program 
of the Ammo Div, Oct 44, pt. a, pp. 1 75ff . 

53 The details of this program cover many 
closely typed pages in Ilsley, Ammo Div, Oct 44. 
A total of twenty-two TNT lines at the Keystone, 
Pennsylvania, Volunteer, Weldon Springs, and 
West Virginia works were closed. The New River 
and Mississ'ppi bag loading plants were shut 
down as well as the Cactus plant that produced 
ammonia, the Pilgrim plant for grinding magnes- 
ium, and many others. 

54 Memo, Maj Gen Clay for USW, 10 Jul 43, 
sub: Ord Plant Data for H.R. Mil Affairs 
Comm., copy in OHF. See statement on cutback 
policy by General Clay at ASF staff conf, 14 
Mar 44, quoted in Ilsley, Facilities Program of 
the Ammo Div, Oct 44, pt. a, pp. 256-61, and 
reports on specific plants described in the first 
1 00 pages of the same reference. 

55 For ASF policies see Memo, Director Ma- 
teriel Div ASF for CofOrd, 20 Jun 43, sub: 
Prod Information on Components, copy in folder 
marked Dirs, Basic Data . . . ASP. 

50 Rot of WD Proc Review Bd. 31 Aug 4^, 
ASF file 334 WD Proc Rev Bd, 020 CofS USA. 



declared that expenditure rates for the 
North African campaign, a war of move- 
ment allowing for little artillery fire, should 
not be accepted as a guide to expenditure 
rates during an invasion of western 

In spite of Ordnance objections, the 
ASF policy announced in January 1944 
was directed toward continued retrench- 
ment and avoidance of overproduction in 
the year ahead. All down the line the 
technical services were told to procure 
during the calendar year 1944 only the 
materiel specifically required by the 
Army Supply Program. Production of any 
items in excess of requirements for the 
purpose of retaining labor or facilities was 
expressly forbidden. 57 In conformity with 
this policy, work at some Ordnance facil- 
ities was stopped altogether in January 
1944. In other cases, facilities not cur- 
rently needed for Ordnance production 
were diverted to other programs, notably 
fertilizers, synthetic rubber, and aviation 

The Crisis of IQ4.4.-4.5 

The year 1944 was a year of trial and 
tribulation for the Ammunition Division. 
At the start the emphasis was on slowing 
down the mounting tide of production as 
the defeat of Germany appeared more and 
more imminent, but at the end there was 
an almost frantic drive for more produc- 
tion at any cost. As late as the last week 
in March 1944 Ordnance, in line with 
recent ASF directives, was reviewing the 
need for existing plants and recommending 
that three bomb- and shell-loading plants 
— Illinois, Pantex, and Gulf — be closed 
within the next sixty to ninety days and 
put in stand-by condition. Illinois had al- 
ways been a high-cost plant while Pantex 

and Gulf were both small plants with only 
three or four lines. But by the time the 
Ordnance recommendation reached ASF 
it encountered a reversal of the cutback 
policy and was not approved. 58 

Early in 1944 Ordnance officers were 
convinced that the Army's neglect of 
heavy artillery and its ammunition was a 
mistake, but they felt they had nearly 
exhausted their powers of persuasion in 
presenting the argument to higher author- 
ities. At the end of February, and again 
in mid-March, Ordnance called to the at- 
tention of ASF the low stocks of 240-mm. 
ammunition and the high expenditure 
rates reported from overseas theaters. 
"This type ammunition is so large," wrote 
General Hardy, "that facilities for its man- 
ufacture are very limited in extent, and 
the time required to reach production 
amounts to about eight months." He 
warned that, if authority were not granted 
him to expand facilities immediately, it 
would be impossible to meet increased re- 
quirements during 1944 or early 1945. 59 
This appeal broke the log jam. Ordnance 
was authorized on 27 March to expedite 
production with a view to attaining as 
soon as possible a monthly production rate 
of forty thousand rounds of 240-mm. 

57 Memo, CG ASF for CofOrd and others, 29 
Jan 44, sub: 1944 ASP — Policies Affecting Prod, 
ASF Contl Div files, folder marked Supplemental 
Rpt on Implementation of Dir to Deputy CofS, 
1 Jan 44. , . . 

58 Memo, CofOrd for CG ASF, 25 Mar 44, 
sub: Proposal to Close . . . Loading Plants, and 
Incls, OO 334/8206 Misc. 

sa Memo, Hardy for CG ASF, 18 Mar 44, 
sub: Rqmts for 240-mm. Ammo, OO 471/3074. 
Two memos dated 28 February 1944 are quoted 
in Dr. Ralph Ilsley, $700,000,000 Facilities Pro- 
gram, Ammunition Division, May 1945, OIIF, 
pages io-ij. See also Brig. Gen. Roswell E. 
Hardy, "Heavy Artillery Ammunition," Army 
Ordnance, XXVII, No. 147 (November-Decem- 
ber 1944), 442- 



ammunition. Similar increases in ammuni- 
tion for the 8-inch gun and howitzer, the 
155-mm. gun and howitzer, and the 4.5- 
inch gun were authorized on 2 April. By 
far the largest quantity in this directive 
was for the 155-mm. howitzer- — 1,303,000 
rounds per month. 60 

The next step was taken in mid-May 
when G-4 and ASF, concluding that the 
cutback policy had been a mistake, or- 
dered a major increase in production of 
medium artillery and ammunition, and 
added to the heavy artillery program. The 
campaign in Italy, where artillery ammuni- 
tion and bombs were used in huge quan- 
tities against strongly fortified mountain 
positions, had forced a change in Army 
plans. The new directives required Ord- 
nance to double its monthly rate of heavy 
artillery ammunition production in seven 
months and triple it in thirteen months. 
In June and July substantial increases in 
bomb requirements were added. Here, at 
last, was the procurement authority Ord- 
nance had repeatedly requested earlier, but 
it came so late in the war that it had to 
be handled on a "blitz" basis. 61 

Creation of additional production capa- 
city for heavy artillery ammunition was 
a big job comparable to the expansion 
undertaken by Ordnance after Pearl Har- 
bor. Some of the government-owned plants, 
such as Gopher, Keystone, and Weldon 
Springs, that had been shut down a few 
weeks or months before, had to be speed- 
ily reopened and re-equipped, and new 
contracts for metal components had to be 
placed with industry under very unfavor- 
able conditions. Enormous forging presses 
had to be built and countless gages, jigs, 
fixtures, and machine tools assembled; pro- 
duction of explosives and smokeless pow- 
der had to be increased; new lines had to 
be set up at the loading plants; and in- 

creased capacity had to be found for forg- 
ing and machining shells, machining cart- 
ridge cases, and producing fuzes. General 
Campbell reported that the facilities for 
production of shells for the 240-mm. how- 
itzer and the 8-inch gun and 8-inch howit- 
zer called for one thousand heavy-duty 
lathes, nineteen 1,000-ton piercing presses, 
seventeen 300-ton draw presses, twelve 
600-ton billet-breaking presses, and 
twenty-seven 500-ton nosing presses. All 
this equipment required motors, hydraulic 
pumps, and other accessories. The expan- 
sion program for heavy artillery ammuni- 
tion as of April and May 1944 required 
the building of new facilities costing $203 
million, divided in roughly equal parts be- 
tween production of metal components 
and the manufacture and loading of ex- 
plosives and propellants. A heartbreaking 
feature of the situation for Ordnance was 
that production capacity for part of this 
load had been laboriously built up in 

60 (1) 1 st Indorsement to above Memo, ASF 
to CofOrd, 27 Mar 44; (2) Memo, CG, ASF for 
CofOrd, 2 Apr 44, sub: Heavy FA Program, 
OO 381/12117 Misc, copy in Ilsley, $700,000,000 
Facilities Program. For background of these de- 
cisions, see Memo, ASF Director of Materiel for 
CG ASF, 1 Apr 44, sub: Heavy FA Program, 
OHF. The Troyer Anderson file at OCMH also 
includes notes on this subject in Folder 15, Heavy 
Ammo Crisis. 

61 Memo, CG ASF for CofOrd, 19 May 44, 
sub: Heavy and Medium Arty and Ammo Pro- 
gram, OO 400/12103. For a detailed account of 
this process, with supporting documents, see 
Ilsley, The Facilities Program of the Ammunition 
Division, a 3-volume study, and Ilsley, $700,000,- 
000 Facilities Program of April 1944. For a brief 
summary, see Ammunition Division Annual Re- 
port, 30 Jun 45, OHF. See also Hardy, "Heavy 
Artillery Ammunition," Army Ordnance, XXVII, 
No. 147 (November-December 1944), 442-43, 
and The Production Story-Heavy Artillery Am- 
munition by ASF Prod Div, 20 Dec 49, copy in 



1 941-1942, only to be lost during the 
1943 cutback era. 82 

Every facility of the Ordnance Depart- 
ment was placed at the disposal of the 
heavy ammunition contractors to expedite 
delivery of equipment and help with tech- 
nical problems of manufacture. Industry 
integration committees' disseminated infor- 
mation among contractors and provided a 
common pool of knowledge and experience. 
Col. Simpson R. Stribling was sent on a 
mission to England, France, and Italy to 
survey production facilities in those coun- 
tries and to arrange for shipment of avail- 
able machine tools to the United States. 
In August 1944 Ordnance reported to the 
Secretary of War that manpower was "the 
greatest single problem facing the expand- 
ing heavy artillery ammunition pro- 
gram." 83 Labor recruiting caravans 
toured the country to help overcome the 
shortage, and women were employed for 
many positions formerly held by men. 84 
When requirements were further increased 
at the end of the year provision was made 
for furloughing enlisted men having skills 
as machinists, toolmakers, or machine op- 
erators to work in ammunition plants. The 
furlough program reached its peak in 
March 1945 when 3,066 enlisted men were 
at work in plants and several thousand 
requisitions for additional men were on 
file with ASF. 85 

On 1 December 1944 Ordnance was 
directed to step up its production of light 
and medium artillery ammunition. The 
monthly rate of production for ammuni- 
tion for the 155-mm. gun was to be in- 
creased by 50 percent, from four hundred 
thousand per month to six hundred thou- 
sand; similar increases for the 5 7 -mm. and 
90-mm. guns, 105-mm. howitzer, and the 
60-mm. and 81-mm. mortars were in- 
cluded. 66 Knowing in advance that these 

increases were coming, the Ammunition 
Division worked night and day to prepare 
its plans. General Campbell then called a 
conference attended by Robert P. Patter- 
son, Bernard Baruch, General Clay of ASF, 
and representatives of the War Production 
Board, War Manpower Commission, and 
other government agencies, at which the 
chief of the Ammunition Division outlined 
a program of expansion that called for 
expenditure of about $300 million for 
producing mortar and medium artillery 
ammunition, in addition to the $329 mil- 
lion earlier allotted for heavy ammunition 
expansion. He provided the conferees with 
a complete set of planning sheets showing 
all the facilities selected for increased ca- 
pacity and detailed information about 
each plant's management, previous work 
on ammunition, available machine tools, 

02 A detailed description of this process is given 
by General Campbell in a memorandum for 
General Somervell, 29 Sep 44, sub: Heavy Arty 
Ammo, OO 471/3834. See also Ann Rpt of 
Ammo Div, 30 Jun 45, OHF, and folder marked 
Heavy Arty and Ammo Ord ExecO file; and brief 
summary in Hiland G. Batcheller, Critical Pro- 
grams, a Report to the WPB, 14 Nov 44, WPB 
Doc. 315, p. 6, WPB file 210.3, NA. 

03 Rpt for SW on Ord Dept Activities, 16 Aug 
44, Barnes file, 

64 In smokeless powder plants the percentage 
of women increased from 18.43 percent in Octo- 
ber 1 943 to 34- 7 1 percent in May 1945, and in 
some plants more than half the employees were 
women. PSP 17, Propellants-Smokeless Powder 
during World War II, p. 49, OHF. 

05 This subject is treated in detail in PSP 59, 
Manpower and Its Utilization, Contractor and 
Ordnance Personnel, June 1945, Volume I, OHF. 
The second volume contains copies of pertinent 
documents. See also Byron Fairch'ld and Jona- 
than Grossman, The Army and Industrial Man- 
WAR II (Washington, 1959). 

tt0 ( 1 ) Memo, CG ASF for CofOrd, 1 Dec 44, 
sub: Rates of Prod Required for Ammo for 90- 
mm. and 155-mm. guns, OO 400,12/13638; (2) 
Memo, CG ASF for CofOrd, 1 Dec 44. sub: 
Rates of Prod Required for Ammo, OO 400.1a/ 



floor space, and requirements for man- 
power, fuel, and electricity. In the course 
of one day it was possible for Ordnance to 
obtain co-ordinated approval for the great- 
er part of its planned expansion, and by 
the end of the month contracts for the 
entire program had been placed. 67 In Jan- 
uary 1945 came new directives for in- 
creased production of ammunition for the 
75-mm. howitzer, the 75-mm. field gun, 
and the 37-mm. antitank gun, followed by 
a demand for 355,300 rounds of armor- 
piercing ammunition with tungsten car- 
bide cores for guns ranging from the 
75-mm. to the 155-mm. When these 
comparatively small January 1945 addi- 
tions were made, the total program called 
for the expenditure of $682 million on 
facilities alone, divided on roughly even 
proportions between metal components, on 
the one hand and powder, explosives and 
loading, on the other. 68 

Production of 105-mm. high explosive 
(HE) howitzer ammunition in December 
1944 reached a record high of 3,600,000 
rounds and put this item at the top of the 
Ordnance list in terms of dollar value of 
procurement, just ahead of the medium 
tank. By the end of January 1945 Ord- 
nance reported that it had procured a 
little over fifty million rounds of this type 
since 1940. Deliveries on some other 
rounds, mostly the heavy types, did not 
come up to expectations in December 
1944. One of the chief causes of failure 
to meet production forecasts was the high 
rate of absenteeism at loading plants be- 
cause of unusually heavy snowstorms dur- 
ing the month. Labor and machine-tool 
shortages retarded production of smoke 
shells for the 155-mm. gun early in 1945, 
but by April rates of production for nearly 
all types were so high that cutbacks were 
being talked about. 69 

During the first four months of 1945 
expenditures for heavy artillery ammuni- 
tion reached record levels — more than four 
times those of the first four months of 
1944 — and then declined sharply after 

Germany's surrender in May. (Table 11) 

At the end of June the chief of the Am- 
munition Division reported that his office 
had supervised the procurement of more 
than $5 billion worth of ammunition 
weighing over seven million tons during 
the fiscal year 1945. Procurement was 
roughly 50 percent greater, in both dollar 
value and weight, than in fiscal year 
1 944. Over two hundred new items, repre- 
senting more than one-third of the average 
number of ammunition items under pro- 
curement, were brought into production. 
The new items included various calibers of 
recoilless ammunition, and the "Tall Boy" 
and "Grand Slam" bombs for the British. 
A new rocket propellant went into produc- 
tion at Longhorn, a new RDX composi- 
tion at Wabash, and a new explosive, 
tritonal, was used to load British bombs. 
TNT production increased so much that a 
shortage of nitric acid developed, necessi- 
tating expansion of acid-making capac- 
ity. 70 

These events naturally raise the ques- 
tion, "Were the frantic efforts to boost 
production necessary?" The answer seems 
to be "yes" if we base our analysis on the 
situation as it existed in the winter of 
1 944-45- 

" 7 Ann Rpt of Ammo Div, 30 Jun 45, p. 7. 

cs (1) Ilsley, $700,000,000 Facilities Program, 
pp. 27-29; (2) Memo, CG ASF for CofOrd, 27 
Jan 45, sub: Rates of Prod. . ., OO 400.12/ 

ol> Ammo Supply for European and Mediter- 
ranean Theaters, 15 Aug 45, pp. 25?. 

10 Ann Rpt, Ammo Div, OCO,' Ind Serv, FY 
1945, OHF. 



Table 11 — Expenditures for Heavy Field Artillery Ammunition, 
January 1944-August 1945 


























Source: Stat Review World War II, app. A, p. 75, by ASF Contl Div, OHF. 

Chart i shows that stocks of artillery 
ammunition on hand in the European 
Theater of Operations ran well below the 
authorized level from the summer of 1944 
to early 1945. An urgent cable from the 
ETO to the War Department on 23 Sep- 
tember 1944 declared bluntly, "There is a 
serious shortage of heavy artillery ammu- 
nition for current operations." 71 As Table 
12 reveals, ammunition was shipped in in- 
creasingly large quantities during these 
months, but did not catch up with the 
rise in authorized levels resulting from de- 
ployment of additional weapons. Vigorous 
efforts were made to speed the flow of 
ammunition from England and from the 
European beaches and ports to the front 

lines. Ammunition was rationed, and the 
armies were unable to fire at the desired 
rate. The fact that the campaign was a 
success does not prove that the ammuni- 
tion supply was adequate, for the fighting 

71 Quoted in Ordnance Service in ETO, Am- 
munition Supply, pp. iQO-23, OHF. See also 
cable from Eisenhower to Marshall quoted on p. 
154, ibid. For statistics, see Ammunition Supply 
for Eurof'-an and Mediterranean Theaters, 15 
Aug 45, p. 69, and Memo, Director of Supply, 
ASF, for Contl Div, ASF, 2t Dec 44, sub: Critical 
Items, copy in black binder in Somervell files, 
Box 48, NA. The subject is covered in some detail 
by Roland G. Ruppenthal in Logistical Support 
of the Armies, Volume I, UNITED STATES 
ARMY IN WORLD WAR II, (Washington, 
1 953)> an( i m Ammunition Supply for European 
and Mediterranean Theaters, pp. 25!?. 

Chart 1 — ETO Authorized Levels and Theater Stocks — Ground Ammunition 
Thousand tons HEAVY ARTILLERY 


— p\ — K - 

s. /' x A\ 
V v 1 \ 

/ 1 

i \ 
i 1 


Authorized J t \ 
level ~* ~ r i 

/ i 


i i 

/ A 
■'■ i i i • 

— -^^ 7^ 

7 — -- — f 

/ Stock on hand 

/ in theater 

i i i • i i i < • i i 

i i i i 


1943 1944 1945 



7\ A 

/ A 

/ / ' 

/ 1 
y i 

/ \ ' 
/ \ ' 

■ i i i i i ■ i • i ■ 

• i t t _ 


Ammunition Supply for European and Mediterranean Theaters Control Division, Hdqtrs, ASF, War 
Department-1 5 August 1945-p. 3. 



Table 12 — Shipments of Selected Types of Artillery Ammunition to the 
European Theater, December 1944-March 1945 

[In Rounds] 












ISS-mm. howitzer. 





155-mm. gun 





8-inch gun . _ _ 





8-inch howitzer 





240-mm. howitzer _ 





Sourte: Ammo Supply for European and Mediterranean Theaters, ASF Contl Div, 15 Aug 45, p. 13., OHF. 

might have ended sooner and with fewer 
casualties had more ammunition been 
fired. The conclusion seems to be inescap- 
able that strenuous efforts to increase pro- 
duction and to speed distribution were 
called for in the critical months following 
6 June 1944. The statistics showing that 
output more than doubled between June 
1944 and June 1945 suggest that the 
production part of the program achieved 
a fair degree of success. 

After Germany surrendered there were, 
of course, large quantities of all types of 
ammunition on hand, surplus to the needs 
of a campaign that was ended. How 
great was the surplus? It was large in all 
calibers and in some calibers it was un- 

reasonably large. [Table 13 shows that the 
3.8 million rounds on hand at the end of 
May 1945 constituted a 3-month supply 
for the 155-mm. gun, based on the exper- 
ience of the preceding three months (Feb- 
ruary, March, April). For the 155-mm. 
howitzer the supply was nearly four 
months, and for the other calibers it was 
roughly six months. 

In June and July 1945 procurement 
was scaled down to the level of the one- 

front war against Japan, and requirements 
were far less than during the early months 
of the year. . Then in mid-August the sur- 
render of Japan put a stop to further 
production. On 14 August the FDAP 
sent telegrams to all its ammunition plants 
to halt production on all except a few 
types of materiel, and the district offices 
took similar action with respect to their 
contractors. These events suddenly ushered 
in a new era for which Ordnance had 
been making plans for many months, an 
era of demobilization and postwar plan- 

In Conclusion: Quality and Quantity 

Ammunition has been called the un- 
sung hero of wars. When a gun fires 
straight and true the user is likely to re- 
mark that it is a fine weapon. When the 
gun fails to function properly the comment 
is likely to be, "There's something wrong 
with the ammunition." Realizing that am- 
munition which failed to function properly 
might have disastrous consequences, Ord- 
nance went to extreme lengths to maintain 
quality at the highest possible level. Every 



Table 13 — Heavy Artillery Ammunition Stocks on Hand in ETO, 31 May 1945 

[1st Rounds] 



240-mm. Howitzer. 

8-inch Gun 

8-inch Howitzer 

155-mm. Gun 

155-mm. Howitzer. 



Source: Prepared from data found in Ammo Supply for Eurpoean and Mediterranean Theaters, ASF Contl Div, 15 Aug 45, OHF 

newly designed shell, fuze, or cartridge 
case was subjected to the most severe tests 
before it was standardized for issue to 
troops. In the manufacturing process an 
unbelievable number of inspections were 
made to screen out defective elements. 
And in the overseas theaters Ordnance 
officers followed up on every reported in- 
stance of malfunction to determine its 
cause and root out the source of the 
trouble. General Merle H. Davis, who had 
wide experience in ammunition procure- 
ment and as a theater Ordnance officer, 
estimated that during World War II the 
Chief of Ordnance received information on 
95 percent of the serious malfunctions that 
occurred in combat. 72 Early in the war, 
reports of premature explosions of shells 
came in from time to time, but by mid- 
1944 the ra te of such malfunctions 
dropped to something less than one in 
100,000 rounds fired. For certain rounds 
it was less than one per million. 73 "Based 
on performance," wrote Maj. Gen. Henry 
B. Sayler, chief Ordnance officer in 
ETOUSA, "American artillery ammuni- 
tion was far superior [to German]. 
Whether because of sabotage or poor 
workmanship, the percentage of German 
duds was exceedingly high as compared 
with that of American performance." 74 

If combat troops seldom had cause to 
complain of the quality of their ammuni- 
tion, they sometimes cursed its inadequate 
supply. This is . not the time or place to 
analyze the intricacies of overseas ammuni- 
tion supply, but the observation may be 
made here that lack of ammunition has 
been a perennial complaint of combat 
troops since the invention of gunpowder. 
In American history, from the defeat of 
the colonial forces on Bunker Hill to the 
war in Korea, field forces have occasionally 
run short of ammunition, sometimes at 
critical moments in the tide of battle. 
Ammunition is one of the most unpredict- 
able items in the military supply catalog. 
Food, clothing, guns, tanks — the need for 
all these can be predicted with fair accur- 
acy, but the supply of ammunition depends 
upon such incalculables as the success of 
an attack or the stubbornness of enemy 
resistance. It is not enough to have at 
overseas bases a large supply of ammuni- 
tion in general. What the fighting forces 
need and demand are the particular types 

72 Davis, "Explosive Ammunition Production," 
Ordnance, XXXVI, No. 19s (May-June 1952), 

73 Lewis and Rosa, Ammo, 1 Jul 40-31 Aug 

45. P- 67- 

11 Ibid., p. 67. 


Table 14 — Major Types of Ammunition Procured, 1 July 1940-31 August 1945 

[In Rounds] 


Total for types listed 

Total rounds for guns, howitzers, and mortars' 1 . 

20-mm. gun (aircraft) 

37-mm. gun (aircraft) 

37-mm. gun (antiaircraft) 

37-mm. gun (tank, antitank, and canister) 

40-mm. gun (antiaircraft) 

57-mm. gun 

57-mm. recoilless rifle 

75-mm. gun (aircraft) 

75-mm. gun (tank and antitank) 

75-mm. howitzer 

75- mm. recoilless rifle 

76- mm. gun 

3-inch gun (tank and antitank) 

3-inch gun (antiaircraft) 

90-mm. gun (antiaircraft) 

90-mm. gun (tank and antitank) 

105-mm. howitzer 

4.5-inch gun 

155-mm. gun 

155-mm. howitzer 

8-inch gun 

8-inch howitzer 

240-mm. howitzer 

60-mm. mortar 

81-mm. mortar 

Rockets, 2.36-inch (bazooka) 

Rockets, 4.5-inch 

Rockets, 7.2-inch 

Total bombs, mines, and grenades 


















a Not including a few minor types such, as the 7.2-inch, 6-inch, 5.5-inch, and 1 20-mm. 

^ Excludes chemical bombs procured empty by Ordnance Department to be filled by Chemical Warfare arsenals. The total 
exceeds 100,000,000 if the individual bombs in bomb clusters are counted separately. See Bomb — Research, Development, Pro- 
duction, and Performance by Maj. Berkeley R. Lewis, pp. 58-59. 

Source: Whiting, Statistics, Procurement sec, 9 Apr 52, Table PR-&. 

and sizes of shell to fit the weapons being ferent sizes and types of shell in common 
used to achieve the specific objective of use, this problem was enormously difficult 
the moment. With literally hundreds of dif- from both the procurement and the distri- 



bution angles. But at the end of the war 
the Ammunition Division was prepared to 
stand on its record of procurement and to 
maintain that, except for heavy artillery, 
lack of production was not the cause of 
shortages in overseas supply. 78 V Table 14 
The Mead Committee of the U.S. Senate 
supported this stand in a report issued in 
July 1 945. 76 Perhaps the most thorough 
analysis of the problem was made by the 
General Board, U.S. Forces, European 
Theater. It concluded that no one factor 
caused the shortage but that three ele- 
ments entered the picture at different 
times: (a) insufficient discharge over the 

beaches or through the ports, June through 
October 1944; (b) inability to move am- 
munition from ports and beaches to the 
armies, August through October 1944; 
and (c) inability of the Zone of Interior 
to meet requirements, November 1944 
through March 1945. 77 


For a discussion of requirements, see Chapter 
The problems of overseas supply will be 
treated in the next volume of this series. 

76 Mead Comm. Report No. 110, pt. 2, 79 th 
Cong., istsess., 6 Jul 45. 

71 Rpt of Gen Bd, U.S. Forces, European 
Theater, Arty Sec, Study No. 58, ch. 7, n.d. 


Small Arms 

In a war that saw the employment of 
huge artillery weapons on a grand scale 
and that featured first the "block buster" 
and then the awe-inspiring atomic bomb, 
the smallest of military weapons — rifles, 
carbines, pistols, and machine guns — 
nevertheless played an important role 
throughout. Among ground combat 
troops, small arms were regarded as valued 
personal possessions, usually winning a 
place on mythical lists of "the soldier's best 
friends." Their effectiveness, light weight, 
and simplicity of operation made them the 
most versatile and most widely used weap- 
ons of the whole war. 

As with so many other terms in military 
language, "small arms" did not have a 
hard and fast meaning. General usage 
over the years denned it as including all 
weapons with bore diameter of .6o-inch 
(.6o-caliber) or less, whether pistols, re- 
volvers, rifles, carbines, submachine guns, 
or machine guns. These standard hand or 
shoulder weapons of infantry troops were 
supplemented traditionally by mortars that 
stood somewhere between shoulder weap- 
ons and artillery. But in World War II the 
infantry soldier also fought with 2.36-inch 
rocket launchers and a few recoilless rifles 
which, in spite of their large calibers, were 
generally classed as small arms or, more 
meaningfully, as infantry weapons. 1 By this 
usage, the determining characteristic was 
not diameter of bore but portability — 

whether the weapon could be carried into 
combat by infantry troops and could be 
fired from the hand, shoulder, or light 
support. The dividing line between small 
arms and artillery was thus less distinct 
than that separating the two classes of 
ammunition. With ammunition the diam- 
eter of the projectile was the deciding 
factor: everything up to and including 
.60-caliber was small arms ; everything over 
.60-caliber was artillery. 

Though small arms were regarded as 
being primarily ground weapons, the com- 
bat infantryman had no monopoly on 
them. Virtually every soldier in an over- 
seas theater, whether assigned to a combat 
arm or a supply service, at one time or 
another used a rifle, carbine, or pistol. 
Small arms also went to sea and were al- 
most as familiar to the sailor as to the 
soldier; every warship carried its store of 
such weapons, ranging from pistols to an- 
tiaircraft machine guns. More important, 
machine guns were the principal arma- 
ment of Allied warplanes. The long-range, 
rapid-firing .50-caliber machine gun 
played the leading role both in plane-to- 
plane combat and in strafing attacks on 
surface targets. Easily the most outstanding 
aircraft gun of the war, it was also the 
most versatile, the same basic mechanism 

1 See 

Chapter V, above, for discussion of 



serving for infantry, aircraft, tank, or an- 
tiaircraft use. 2 

Unlike the manufacture of artillery 
weapons, small arms production did not 
require the use of huge dies, presses, 
forges, and cranes, for the smaller weapons 
consisted of fewer and less complicated 
parts and were not equipped with intricate 
fire control devices or elaborate recoil 
mechanisms. The Mi rifle, for example, 
consisted of about seventy parts while an 
artillery piece, together with its on-carriage 
fire control equipment, consisted of thou- 
sands. Nevertheless, mass production of 
small arms was an exacting process. Parts 
had to be cut and machined to rigid 
tolerances. Detailed specifications had to 
be met to assure finished weapons that 
could fire thousands of rounds with little 
deviation in accuracy and could with- 
stand exposure to heat, cold, rain, snow, 
mud, and sand. Carrying on a tradition 
that began in the days of Eli Whitney, 
Ordnance insisted upon complete inter- 
changeability of parts for like models. 3 

Production of most small arms got un- 
der way fairly quickly in 1940-42 because 
the basic designs had been worked out 
and standardized long before the out- 
break of hostilities, and manufacturing 
techniques had been well developed. Some 
standard weapons of 1940-42 were, in 
fact, essentially World War I designs that 
had stood the test of time. Among the 
most widely used of the older weapons 
were the 1903 Springfield rifle, the 19 18 
Browning automatic rifle (BAR), and the 
.45-caliber automatic pistol adopted in 
191 1. Four basic infantry weapons were 
comparatively new — the Mi rifle, the car- 
bine, the M3 submachine gun, and the 
Thompson submachine gun. The last, a 
modified version of a commercially pro- 
duced weapon, had won acceptance by 

the Navy in 1928, been adopted by the 
Army four years later as a limited procure- 
ment item, and in 1938 been classed as 
a standard Army weapon. The more easily 
mass produced M3 submachine gun sup- 
planted the Thompson as a production 
item in 1944. The semiautomatic Mi rifle 
had been adopted in 1936 and put into 
small-scale production at Springfield Arm- 
ory the following year. A lightweight car- 
bine, adopted in record time, went into 
production in 1 94 1 •* 

Aid to Britain in 

Although Ordnance research and de- 
velopment had brought forth a number of 
improved models during the two peace- 
time decades, the meager funds available 
in those years had not permitted quantity 
production. Nor had there been any sense 
of urgency for small arms procurement. 

- ( 1 ) Record of Army Ordnance Research and 
Development, vol. 2, Jan 46, R&D Serv, OCO, 
OHF; (a) Lt. Col. George M. Chinn, The Ma- 
chine Gun, vol. I (Washington, 1951), p. 334; 
(3) Lt. Col. William C. Farmer, ed., Ordnance 
Field Guide, vol. II (Harrisburg: Military Service 
Publishing Company, 1946), p. 110; (4) Green, 
Thomson, and Roots, Planning Munitions for 
War At,. n&\ (5) PSP 36, U.S. Machine Guns, 
Calibers .30 and .50, 1940-45, 18 Feb 46, com- 
piled by Lt Col Emanual Schugar, Maj Berkeley 
R. Lewis, and William H. Davis, pp. 10-14 (6) ; 
Catalog of Standard Ord Items — Small Arms, 1 
Mar 44, pp. 402-04. 

3 Lecture, Maj James L. Hatcher, Ordnance 
Production Difficulties and Their Solution, 20 
Feb 39, ICAF. This lecture is quoted extensively 
in "Armament Production," Army Ordnance, 
XXI, No. 123 (November-December), 221-24. 

4 For the research and development back- 
ground on small arms, see Green, Thomson, and 
Roots, Planning Munitions for War \ pp. 175-7HH 
and Record of Army Ordnance Research and De- 
velopment, vol. 2, bks. 1 and 3. For the carbine, 
see History of Small Arms Materiel U.S. Car- 
bine, Cal. .30, prepared by Maj H. P. Smith and 
William H. Davis under the direction of Lt Col 
H. H. Mitchell (1945) OHF. 



After World War I, some three million 
rifles plus large quantities of pistols and 
machine guns had been reconditioned and 
put in storage along with machinery for 
their manufacture. These reserve stocks 
were considered more than adequate to 
meet replacement needs of the small 
peacetime Army and to equip a larger 
force in time of emergency. Though re- 
serves of aircraft machine guns were virtu- 
ally nonexistent, this fact caused little con- 
cern because the air arm possessed few 
planes and both Springfield Armory and 
Colt's Patent Fire Arms Company were 
producing enough for peacetime needs. 

This complacent view was rudely shaken 
in the summer of 1940 as the British Army 
suffered its Dunkerque and both Belgium 
and France fell to the Germans. To bolster 
the hard-pressed British forces, President 
Roosevelt decided to transfer to them all 
weapons and ammunition that might be 
considered surplus to the needs of United 
States forces. 5 As a result, during the sum- 
mer of 1940 the British received about 
615,000 Enfield rifles, 25,000 BAR's, 
86,000 .30-caliber machine guns, and 
20,000 revolvers. Transfer of this materiel 
took a big bite out of the U.S. Army's 
small arms stockpile, and at the same time 
the President's call for 50,000 airplanes 
boosted machine gun requirements. Com- 
placency soon gave way to alarm, and 
immediate increase in the output of small 
arms of all kinds was demanded. But 
quantity production could not be achieved 
overnight. As with other types of muni- 
tions, increased production depended on 
expansion of facilities, installation of spe- 
cialized machine tools, and recruitment 
and training of new workers, 'all of which 
took time. It was at this point that the 
public began to ask what Ordnance had 
done to prepare for such an emergency. 

Production Preparedness 

While the meager Ordnance budget in 
the 1920's and 1930's had barely sufficed 
to keep the arsenals open and had not 
permitted placing any substantial small 
arms orders with private industry, Ord- 
nance had endeavored in other ways to 
prepare industry for its wartime task. Dur- 
ing the late 1930's and in early 1940 con- 
tracts for production studies of small arms 
of various types were awarded to several 
concerns. Typical of such studies were 
those prepared by Remington Arms Com- 
pany, Inc. on .30-caliber aircraft machine 
guns and the new Mi rifle; by Colt's 
Patent Fire Arms Manufacturing Com- 
pany on .30- and .50-caliber aircraft ma- 
chine guns; and by the Singer Manufac- 
turing Company and the Nash-Kelvinator 
Company on .45-caliber pistols. 6 These 
studies did not call for actual manufacture 
but merely for analysis of ways and means 
by which the item could best be produced 
should the need arise. 7 Growing out of 
production studies were detailed descrip- 

5 See Green, Th omson, an d Roots, Planning 
Munitions for War, \ ch. Ill, I and Leighton and 
Coakley, Global Logistics, 1940-1 94.3, pp. 33-34. 
For a summary of the stocks on hand, see Memo, 
Brig Gen Richard C. Moore, ACofS G-4, for 
GofS 5 Jun 40, sub: Surplus Ord Materiel 
. . ., G-4/26057-2. 

fi ( 1 ) PSP 76, Design, Development and Pro- 
curement of Small Arms, 1917-45, by William H. 
Davis, SA Div, Ind Serv, May 45, p. 6; (2) PP 
76, Small Arms and Small Arms Ammunition, 
Design, Development and Procurement 1917-45, 
by Lt Col Calvin H. Goddard, Historical Sec, 
Exec Div, Jun 45, p. 52; (3) PSP 36, U.S. Ma- 
chine Guns, Calibers .30 and .50, Development, 
Requirements and Production 1940-45, 18 Feb 
46, pp. 703-72; (4) Hist, Rochester Ord Dist, 
vol. I, 1923-42, pp. 46-47. For an explanation of 
the term "p roduction stu dy" in Ordnance prewar 
planning, see Chapter 

7 Ltr, CofOrd to Budget Officer of the WD, 8 
Apr 40, OO 1 1 1 .3/7485. 



Saginaw Gun Plant, Mich., where machinery and equipment installed for operations on 
30-co/iber machine gun barrels are shown. 

tions of manufacture prepared by the ar- 
senals and private industry for all kinds 
of small arms. Springfield Armory kept 
data of this type for aircraft guns; Rock 
Island Arsenal kept a similar file on ground 
machine guns. 8 

Further to prepare industry for emer- 
gency production, Ordnance in ig3g and 
1940 had placed four educational orders 
for small arms — one each for rifles and 
machine guns and two for pistols. 8 To the 
Winchester Repeating Arms Company 
had gone an order for five hundred Mi 
rifles and to Saginaw Steering Gear Di- 
vision of General Motors Corporation an 
order for five hundred .30-caliber machine 
guns. Ordnance had placed an order for 
five hundred pistols with the Singer Man- 
ufacturing Company of Worcester, Mass., 
which had previously completed its pro- 
duction study on this weapon; a similar 

order had gone to the Harrington and 
Richardson Arms Company of Worcester, 
Mass. 10 After Pearl Harbor, Winchester 
and Saginaw continued to manufacture 
their educational order items, but the two 
educational orders for pistols, fortunately 
far less important weapons than machine 
guns or rifles, proved of less direct benefit 

8 Among the important "descriptions of manu- 
facture" were those prepared at Springfield 
Armory covering the .30-caliber M2 aircraft ma- 
chine gun, the .50-caliber M2 machine gun, and 
the Mi rifle; those prepared at Rock Island 
Arsenal covering the Browning .30-caliber 
M1917A1 and Mi9tgA4 ground type machine 
guns and their mounts and the BAR, and one 
prepared by the Singer Manufacturing Company 
for the .45-caIiber automatic pistol. PSP 76, p. 7. 

9 The educational orders program is discussed in 
(Jh apter 11,1 above. 

»»(0 PP 76, PP. 1 8, 29, 53; (2) PSP 36, U.S. 
Machine Guns, Calibers .30 and .50, Develop- 
ment, Requirements and Production, 1940-1945. 



to wartime production. Although Singer 
satisfactorily completed the five hundred 
pistols called for under its educational 
order, Ordnance did not call upon it to 
make pistols after 1941, for its facilities 
were by then heavily committed to manu- 
facture of artillery directors, which had a 
higher priority. Upon completion of the 
educational order, Singer transferred all 
tools and other material relating to pistol 
manufacture to the Ithaca Gun Company, 
which turned out large quantities of ex- 
cellent pistols. 11 The Harrington and 
Richardson contract turned out badly. Af- 
ter two extensions in delivery date owing 
to management difficulties and changes 
in operating personnel the contract was 
canceled in June 1942 before a single 
finished pistol had been produced. 12 

Despite Springfield Armory's production 
potential, Ordnance had decided to award 
an educational order for the Garand rifle 
because of the large requirement for rifles 
in the Protective Mobilization Plan. In 
the spring of 1939 the Infantry listed the 
new rifle as the top priority item in the 
rearmament program. The million-dollar 
contract went to Winchester, was success- 
fully completed, and was soon followed by 
large production orders. 13 

Though not part of Ordnance plans for 
production preparedness, foreign orders in 
1939-40 helped in a very practical way to 
prepare American industry for its wartime 
role. After the outbreak of war in Europe 
in September 1939, Britain, France, the 
Netherlands, China, and other countries 
offered contracts to U.S. firms that had 
experience in the manufacture of military 
weapons or sporting arms. As American 
manufacturers were not keenly interested 
in munitions production, most such ne- 
gotiations proceeded slowly during the 
winter of 1939-40, and some other com- 

plicated arrangements had to be worked 
out with the few companies interested in 
foreign munitions contracts. 14 

In December 1939 and early 1940, for 
example, both Britain and France placed 
substantial orders for Thompson subma- 
chine guns with the Auto Ordnance Cor- 
poration. This concern owned manufactur- 
ing rights for the Thompson gun but had 
neither plant nor skilled labor force. Auto 
Ordnance therefore subcontracted the 
work to the Savage Arms Company of 
Utica, N.Y. The weapons thus produced 
were the first "Tommy guns" turned out 
in the United States since Colt had com- 
pleted a small order for Auto Ordnance 
in 192 1-22. 15 The Netherlands govern- 
ment meanwhile entered into a similar con- 
tract with Defense Supplies Corporation, a 
newly organized American firm with ex- 
clusive license to manufacture a new sub- 
machine gun known as the High Standard. 
Like Auto Ordnance, Defense Supplies had 
no manufacturing facilities and had to 

11 (1) Hist, New York Ord Dist, vol. 100, pt. 
3, Contractor Histories, Fire Contl Div MS, Rpt 
by Singer Manufacturing Co., 9 Jul 45, p. 3; (2) 
PSP 39, Pistol, Automatic, Cal. .45, MigriAi, 
19 r 7 through August 1945, compiled by Annie 
J, Gregg and reviewed by John P. Aitchison, 
Jan 47, OHF, p. 10. 

12 (1) H ; st, Boston Ord Dist, vol. I, 1922 
Through 1942, pp. 10-1 1, 67, OHF; (2) PP 76, 
Small Arms and Small Arms Ammunition, De- 
sign, Development and Procurement 1917-45, p. 
29; (3) PSP 39, pp. 9-1 1. 

13 Green, Tho mson, and Roots, Planning Mu- 
nitions for H^ar jpp. 58-59.! See below for further 
discussion of Winchester production. 

11 SA Div, Historical Review of Lend-Lease 
Activities — Small Arms and Small Arms Ammu- 
nition, 17 Jul 45, OHF. 

1 r ' PSP 40, Submachine Guns, 1921-45, by 
William H. Davis and Capt Andrew J. Gleason, 
SA Div, Ind Serv, Dec 45, pp. 1-4. In 1944 the 
Auto Ordnance Corp. was renamed Maguire 
Industries, Inc. Hist, Springfield Ord Dist, vol. 
too, pt. 23, Contractor Histories, Maguire Indus- 
tries, Inc. 



subcontract the work to the Marlin Fire- 
arms Company of New Haven, Conn. 

More important than submachine gun 
orders was the foreign demand for Brown- 
ing machine guns. In the fall of 1939, 
when the British government turned to 
American industry for manufacture of 
these weapons, it soon became apparent 
that the Colt Company, holder of patent 
rights on the Browning guns and their 
sole commercial producer, would not be 
able to supply all that were needed. The 
British government not only arranged to 
finance expansion of the Colt plant but 
also opened negotiations with three other 
firms to produce Browning guns under a 
Colt license. During the winter of the 
so-called "phony war" these negotiations 
moved slowly with each side holding out for 
more favorable terms. But the swift Ger- 
man victories of May and June 1940 
changed the picture almost overnight. 
Agreement was soon reached on construc- 
tion of three new aircraft machine gun 
plants by the Buffalo Arms Corporation, 
High Standard Manufacturing Company, 
and the Kelsey-Hayes Wheel Company. 1B 

For rifles the British turned to the 
Savage Arms Corporation, signing a con- 
tract with it in March 1941 for manufac- 
ture of the standard British rifle, the .303- 
caliber Lee-Enfield (No. 4, Mark I) at its 
plant, known as the J. Stevens Arms Com- 
pany Division, near Chicopee Falls, Mass. 
Although tooling was rushed and the 
company completed its first rifle in July, 
quantity production was just getting 
started when the Japanese attacked Pearl 
Harbor. Meanwhile, in October, the U.S. 
Government, under provisions of the Lend- 
Lease Act, had taken over administration 
of the British contract. Additional orders 
were placed after Pearl Harbor, and by 
June 1944, when the contract was termin- 

ated, Savage had produced 1,030,228 
rifles, plus spare parts. 17 

Early in 1941 Britain asked the Reming- 
ton Arms Company to produce half a 
million Lee-Enfields at its Ilion, N.Y., 
plant. At this point General Wesson raised 
an objection. He proposed that the reserve 
machinery for manufacturing Springfields 
be removed from storage at Rock Island 
and leased to Remington, and that Rem- 
ington use it to make .30-caliber Spring- 
fields instead of .303-caliber Lee-Enfields 
for the British. As the labor situation at 
Rock Island was acute, Ordnance opposed 
opening the rifle plant there. Further, the 
Army had enough rifles on hand to equip 
a 2 -million-man force, and output of the 
new semiautomatic rifle was expected to 
add even more to the reserve stocks. 18 
Wesson pointed out that, starting from 
scratch, it would take Remington two and 
a half years to get into production on 
Lee-Enfield rifles for the British. Using the 
Rock Island machinery, production of 
Springfields could reach one thousand 
per day within one year, and after com- 
pletion of the British contract this ma- 
chinery would be in place for supply of 

"' PP 36, U.S. Machine Guns, Calibers .30 and 
.50, Development, Requirements and Production 
1940-45, Jul 45, OHF. See also History of Small 
Arms Materiel, Buffalo Arms Corp., 9 Mar 45, 

17 (1) Hist, Springfield Ord Dist, Sub-Office 
Admin Div. I (194a) sec. on Savage Sub-Office; 
(2) Hist, Springfield Ord Dist, vol. 100, pt. 3. 

18 (0 Memo, Col Vincent Meyer. WDGS G-4 
for ASW, 10 Oct 40, sub: Advisability of Open- 
ing up the Springfield Rifle Plant . . . ; (2) 
Memo, Lt Col Willis R. Slaughter, OASW for 
Col Spaulding, 16 Oct 40, same sub; (3) Memo. 
CofOrd for ASW, 19 Oct 40, sub: Prod of U.S. 
Rifle, Caliber .30, M1903; (4) Memo, SW for 
CofS, 23 Oct 40, sub: Advisability of Opening 
. . . Rifle Plant. ... All in folder 474 Small 
Arms, ASF Prod Div files. See also G-4 files 



the U.S. Army if needed. The British were 
not at all enthusiastic about this proposal, 
insisting that they wanted only rifles of 
.303-caliber. But they finally conceded the 
point after a delay of several months and 
accepted Wesson's plan. The rental agree- 
ment was signed early in 1 941, just a few 
days before passage of the Lend-Lease Act 
under which the Army was later to take 
over all British rifle procurement in the 
United States. The machinery was quickly 
shipped to llion where manufacturing got 
under way in less than a year, and con- 
tinued until 28 February 1944. 19 

Manufacturing capacity created to fill 
foreign orders was an important resource 
when the United States began to rearm in 
earnest during 1941. But of greater value 
were the two Ordnance arsenals, Spring- 
field and Rock Island, experienced in the 
manufacture of small arms. Though badly 
in need of new machine tools, and staffed 
with only a nucleus of skilled workmen, 
these two arsenals stood ready not only to 
expand their own output as needed but 
also to share with civilian industry their 
technical knowledge and their war reserve 
machinery. Springfield Armory, the tradi- 
tional center for military rifle production, 
had begun as early as 1937 to tool up for 
production of the new Garand rifle, and 
as public interest in rearmament grew in 
1940 and early 1941 its progress was 
closely watched. 

Getting the Garand into Production 

Despite a rather long period of prepara- 
tion, mass production of the Garand rifle 
proved to be far more difficult than any- 
one anticipated. In part, the difficulty 
sprang from the usual problems encoun- 
tered in beginning quantity production of 
a new weapon. But in the case of the 

Garand, run-of-the-mill difficulties were 
compounded by a violent public contro- 
versy touched off when the competing 
Johnson rifle was submitted for Army test 
in 1938, two years after standardization of 
the Garand and while tooling up for its 
manufacture was under way at Spring- 
field Armory. Throughout most of the 
defense period (1939-41) debate raged in 
the halls of Congress and in magazines and 
newspapers across the nation over the 
merits of these two weapons, and before 
the controversy subsided a third semi- 
automatic model had entered the picture. 
Some critics meanwhile contended that the 
old, mechanically reliable Springfield was 
superior to any of the semiautomatics; 
others expressed doubts that the Garand 
could ever be successfully mass-produced. 
Probably no other weapon in American 
history went into production amid such 
intense controversy. 20 

Officially designated "Rifle, semiauto- 
matic, cal. .30, Mi," the new weapon was 
universally known either as "the Garand" 
or "the Mi." The product of a 35-year 
search, it was gas-operated, weighed about 

10 ( 1 ) Statement by Wesson in Review of Pro- 
duction Plans of Small Arms Division, 20 Feb 
42, T676A, pp. 38-39; (q) Hist, Rochester Ord 
Dist, vol. 100, pt. 9, llion Works; (3) In Abun- 
dance and On Time, 1939-43, published by 
Remington Arms Co., Bridgeport, Conn., 1944; 
(4) Lt. Col. H. H. Mitchell, Hist, Small Arms 
Materiel. U.S. Rifle Cal. .30 Mtgo3 [194^]. SA 
Br, Ind Div, OCO, p. 33; (5) PP 76. 

20 The most complete published account of the 
development of the Garand is made by Maj. Gen. 
Julian S. Hatcher, The Book of the Garand 
(Washington: Infantry Journal Press, 1948). See 
also Green. Thomson, and Roots, Planning Mu- 
nitions for War, |pp. 175-7 7 i Maj. Guy H. 
Drewry, "Our New Service Rifle," The American 
Rifleman, vol. 86, No. 8 (Aug 1938), pp. 5-9, 
and manuscrpt History of Springfield Armory by 
Constance McLaughlin Green, vol. II, bk. I, pp. 
43-48 and 74-76. 



nine and a half pounds, and was loaded 
by an 8-round clip. It could fire more than 
twice as fast as the Springfield. With it 
a soldier could fire eight aimed shots 
without taking his eye off the target, for 
all he needed to do was squeeze the trigger 
for each shot. 21 Designed by John C. 
Garand, chief civilian engineer at Spring- 
field, it was subjected to grueling service 
tests by both the Infantry and the Cavalry 
before being adopted in January 1936. 
Garand received no monetary reward for 
his invention beyond his modest Armory 
salary — though a bill to grant him 
$100,000 was introduced in Congress — 
but he was the recipient of numerous 
medals. In 1941 the Army Ordnance As- 
sociation honored him with its first Brig. 
Gen. John H. Rice Gold Medal for Meri- 
torious Service in Armament Engineering. 
Three years later Garand received an 
official government award, the Medal for 
Merit. 22 

Tooling at Springfield 

As soon as the Garand was adopted, 
Springfield began preparations for produc- 
ing it in quantity, but at that time the 
Armory was at low ebb, having lived on a 
hand-to-mouth basis since the end of 
World War I. A small cadre of skilled 
workers remained, engaged for the most 
part in turning out each year a few im- 
proved Springfield rifles and rifle parts. 
Most of the machine tools on hand had 
been in use for twenty or thirty years, 
and some even antedated the Civil War. 
Surveying these tools to determine which 
could be used in producing parts for the 
new rifle was in itself a major undertaking. 
Preparing manufacturing drawings, plan- 
ning production line processes, and design- 
ing and making new tools, jigs, fixtures, and 

John C. Garand at work in his model 
shop, September 1940. 

21 A semiautomatic weapon differs from a fully 
automatic weapon in that the former requires a 
separate squeeze of the trigger for each shot while 
the latter fires until the magazine is empty as 
long as the trigger is held down. 

22 ( 1 ) "Army Ordnance Medalists, 1941," Army 
Ordnance, XXII, No. 127 (July-August 1941), 
30-31; (2) New York Times, March 29, 1944, 
p. 22; (3) PSP 37, U.S. Rifle, Cal. .30 Mi, Pe- 
sign, Development, Procurement, and Production, 
by William H. Davis, Jul 46, OHF; (4) Green^ 
Thomson, and Roots, Planning Munitions for 
w ar, I pp. 175-771 ; (5) Philip B. Sharpe, The 
Rifle in America (New York: Funk and Wagnalls 
Company, 1953), PP- 5i3~3i; (6) Hatcher, The 
Book of the Garand; (7) Melvin M. Johnson, 
Jr., Rifles and Machine Guns (New York: W. 
Morrow and Company, 1944), pp. 40-45; (8) 
Walter H. B. Smith, Small Arms of the World 
(Harrisburg, Pa.: Military Service Publishing 
Company, 1955), pp. 154-575 (9) "Garand's 
Gun," Newsweek, December 4, 1939, pp. 18-19; 
(10) Edwin Teale, "He Invented the World's 
Deadliest Rifle," Popular Science, December 1940, 
pp. 68-71; (n) Joseph W. Shields, Jr., From 
Flintlock to Mi (New York: Coward-McCann, 



gages were all equally time-consuming. 23 

In i g 34 the Armory model shop had 
completed an order for eighty experimental 
Garands, but tooling up for quantity pro- 
duction was an entirely different matter. 
When work began in the fall of 1937 on 
an order for 1,500 rifles it soon became 
clear that many of the old machines that 
appeared to be in good condition had lost, 
through long use, the accuracy needed to 
meet close tolerances. It soon became clear 
also that an entirely new system of pro- 
duction would be required to achieve high- 
speed output. Determined that the new 
rifle should be manufactured by the most 
modern methods to attain a high rate of 
production with a saving of manpower, 
space, and operating cost, Ordnance 
launched a major retooling program at 
Springfield in the spring of 1938. 24 Tooling 
engineers from all over the country were 
invited to aid in design of modern produc- 
tion equipment and to submit bids for its 
manufacture. Coming at a time when the 
machine-tool industry was in financial dol- 
drums, this invitation met with a ready 
response. After detailed study of each rifle 
part, and consultation with machine tool 
builders, machining operations were sub- 
stantially reduced. Many of the machine 
tools and much of the accessory equipment 
on hand at Springfield could be used in 
the modernized production setup, but the 
quantity of new equipment needed was 

When Congress in 1938 appropriated 
$1,800,000 for retooling, Ordnance antic- 
ipated the project would be completed by 
the end of the following year and would 

'954); PP- 172-81; (12) Who's WKo in America, 

23 ( 1 ) Lecture, Hatcher, 20 Feb 39; (2) 
"1,000 Garands a Day" in armament section of 
American Machinist, vol. 84, November 27, 1940. 

boost production from ten thousand to fifty 
thousand rifles per year. 26 This sum sup- 
plemented approximately one million dol- 
lars that had already been expended at 
Springfield for new equipment and gages, 
primarily for the Mi rifle, since 1935. 26 
As the years from 1935 on had brought a 
gradual upswing in all activities at the 
Armory, Ordnance decided to modernize, 
to the extent of funds available, the whole 
Springfield manufacturing plant during 
the process of tooling up for output of the 
new rifle. 27 While no new buildings were 
erected at the Armory before 1940, many 
improvements such as better wiring, new 
floors, and strengthening of supports as 
well as the shifting of existing machinery 
were required to house the new rifle- 
producing equipment and reorganize the 
production line. Some of the buildings at 
the Armory were positively archaic. 

The first production models of the Mi 
rifle came off the line in September 1937 

24 (1) Lecture, Hatcher, 20 Feb 39; (2) Camp- 
bell, The Industry-Ordnance Team, p. 192; (3) 
Lt. Col. .H. H. Mitchell, Hist of Small Arms 
Materiel, U.S. Rifle Cal. .30 Mi, 12 Dec 44, pp. 
10-11; (4) PSP 37, U.S. Rifle Cal. .30 Mi, 
History of Design, Development, Procurement, 
and Production, 1936-45, pp. 52-55; (5) Hist, 
Springfield Armory, vol. II, bk. 1, p. 64; (6) Col. 
Gilbert H. Stewart, "Springfield Armory Tools Up 
for New Semi-Automatic Rifles," Machinery, vol. 
45, No. 5 (July 1939). 

25 (1) Statement by Craig, Hearings, WDAB, 
FY 1940, H.R., 76th Cong., 1st sess., 26 Jan 39, 
p. 6; (2) Statement by Wesson before House 
Subcomm. on same bill, 1 Feb 39, pp. 396-97 of 
the Hearings; (3) Ltr, Wesson to CO Springfield 
Armory, 16 Dec 38, sub: Spec Authority for Proc 
of Caliber .30 Mi Rifle Equipment, copy ap- 
pended to Mitchell, Hist SA Materiel, U.S. Rifle 
Cal. .30 Mi, 12 Dec 44.; (4) Memo, Col W. L. 
Clay, OCO to Col Haislip, WD Budget and 
Legislative Ping Br, 28 Jan 39, OO 11 1.3/6954. 

- n PSP 37, U.S. Rifle Cal. .30 Mi, Hist of De- 
sign, Development, Proc and Prod, 1936-45, p. 

27 Ltr, Wesson, CofOrd, to Hon. Charles R. 
Clason, H.R., 7 May 40, OO 474.2/2960. 



at a rate of about 10 per day. By the time 
the first order for 1,500 was completed the 
following March, daily output stood at 20, 
and work was started on a second slightly 
larger order. Boosted to 40 in September 
1938, daily output gradually continued to 
rise as new tools and equipment were in- 
stalled and new orders were received, 
reaching a rate of 100 per day one year 
later and 200 per day or 50,000 per year 
in January 1940. 28 But future require- 
ments had also risen in the fall of 1939. 
Against a need for 150,000 new rifles 
during the next two years, Springfield could 
produce only about 100,000 if it con- 
tinued on an 8-hour day. Under these 
circumstances General Wesson decided 
that the Armory should be kept on an 8- 
hour day and that additional rifles should 
be obtained from private industry. He 
reasoned that this plan would keep extra- 
shift reserve capacity at the Armory for an 
emergency and would enable industry to 
tool up for rifle production. 

When Ordnance called for bids in the 
summer of 1939, two famous gunmaking 
concerns, Remington and Winchester, re- 
sponded. Each submitted a bid based on 
the assumption that it would furnish all 
necessary tools and equipment. Winchester 
not only turned in the lower bid on this 
basis but also submitted an alternate bid 
— $1 million less — assuming use of tools 
and equipment being procured under its 
educational order. On the basis of this 
latter proposal, Winchester received a con- 
tract for 65,000 Garand rifles to be com- 
pleted by June 1942. As the million dollar 
reduction in the second Winchester bid 
was approximately equal to the cost to the 
government of the educational order, 
there was no saving in money but there 
was a full year's reduction in the time 
required for tooling up. 29 

Production Troubles 

In the fall of 1939, just as the contract 
with Winchester was being signed, the 
Garand rifle made its public debut and at 
once ran into a storm of criticism, much of 
it related to the troubles experienced with 
the first production models of the new 
rifle. While the first eighty toolroom 
models, made in 1934 under the designer's 
direct supervision, had performed su- 
perbly, the first production models were 
plagued by several new and unexpected 
minor troubles. The cam on the operating 
rod tended to stick, and the rear sights 
would not hold their adjustment. Another 
puzzling defect was that the seventh round 
in the clip often failed to feed, and fre- 
quently the 8-round clip jumped out of the 
gun after the seventh round had been 
fired. Eventually it was found that very 

28 For details on output during these years, see 
( 1 ) Memo, Lt Col Guy H. Drewry to Chief of 
Ind Div, 25 Sep 39, sub: Status of Mi Rifle 
Prod, ex. 20, Mitchell, Hist of SA Materiel, U.S. 
Rifle Cal. .30 Mi, Jul 46; (2) Memo, Capt 
William T. Moore to CofOrd through Chief of 
Ind Serv, 9 Mar 40, sub: Costs — Caliber .30 Mi 
Rifles, Spare Parts and Accessories, ex. 2 1 to 
above study; (3) William H. Davis, Springfield 
Armory, Pertinent Data Concerning Plant and 
Activities 1794 — Feb 1946, SA Div, Ind Serv, 
OCO, 7 Mar 46, p. 2. For a popular version, see 
Donald Wilhelm, "What 'On Order' Means," 
Reader's Digest, October 1940, pp. 33-36. 

20 For details on the placing of this production 
order and the benefits gained from the educa- 
tional order, see: (1) Memo, Lt Col Drewry to 
Chief Ind Serv, 24 Aug 39, sub: Bids on Cir 
Proposal 852-39-483, Mi Rifles, Extra Parts & 
Combination Tools, ex. 23, Mitchell, Hist SA 
Materiel, U.S. Rifle Cal. .30 Mi, 12 Dec 44, SA 
Br, Ind Div; (2) Lecture, Wesson, Ordnance 
Department Procurement, 15 Jan 40, ICAF, p. 
6; (3) Harold F. Williamson, Winchester — The 
Gun That Won the West (Washington: Combat 
Forces Press, 1952), pp. 385-88; (4) Statements 
by Col Rutherford ' and Wesson, WDAB, 1941, 
H.R., 76th Cong., 3d sess., 27 Feb 40 and 12 Mar 



few of these defects were inherent in the 
design of the rifle. Nearly all stemmed from 
the fact that during retooling for mass 
production slight changes had been intro- 
duced in the shape and dimensions of some 
of the parts. Perhaps, one Ordnance officer 
later suggested, many of these troubles 
might have been avoided if Garand, a 
topflight machine-tool designer as well as 
designer of the rifle, had been consulted 
more closely during the retooling program. 
But other Ordnance officers challenged 
this view; they asserted that no liberties 
were taken with the design and that every 
engineering change made at the Armory 
had Garand's approval. 30 

The Infantry, well aware of these 
troubles with the production models, was 
not alarmed, for it accepted the Ordnance 
Department's assurance that the defects 
could and would be corrected. But the 
general public was kept in the dark regard- 
ing the troubles experienced with the rifle 
and the progress made in remedying them. 
So was the staff of the National Rifle As- 
sociation, an organization that numbered 
its members in the hundreds of thousands 
and for almost half a century had been 
recognized as a quasi-governmental insti- 
tution devoted to the promotion of small 
arms shooting as a part of the national 
defense. Had the NRA been kept fully and 
frankly informed, it might have provided 
constructive criticism and powerful sup- 
port of any decisions reached by the Army. 

Details of the construction and opera- 
tion of the Garand had first been given 
to the public in the fall of 1938 with no 
hint of unusual production or performance 
difficulties. 31 The first public demonstra- 
tion came one year later when two hun- 
dred Garand rifles were sent to Camp 
Perry, Ohio, for use in the small arms 
firing school for civilians held in conjunc- 

tion with the National Rifle Matches. The 
performance of these rifles immediately 
raised doubts. The expert rifle shots who 
had assembled for the annual marksman- 
ship contest were accustomed to using the 
National Match Rifle, an improved Spring- 
field made with extra care and painstak- 
ingly adjusted for the best results in long- 
range shooting. To these experts the 
Garand rifles did not appeal, for the 
Garands were battle rifles, not target 
models. Their sights gave good visibility 
under poor lighting conditions, but' did 
not make for high scores at long ranges 
under match conditions. Even more dis- 
turbing to the sharpshooters was the fact 
that the Garand sights would not hold 
their adjustment. 32 Ordnance was well 
aware of this problem and had in produc- 
tion at Springfield an improved gas cylin- 
der assembly to correct it, but the public 
was not informed. Although civilians at 
Camp Perry were invited to test fire the 
new rifles they had a vague suspicion that 
everything was not above board. "There 
was always an Army man at the shooter's 
elbow," wrote one observer, "ready to 
snatch the rifle away and perform some 
sleight of hand at the slightest sign of a 
malfunction. Moreover, the members of the 
NRA staff, to their surprise, found that 

so (r) Hatcher, Book of the Garand, p. 120; 
( 2 ) Comments on draft manuscript of this chap- 
ter by Maj Gen Elbert L. Ford (Ret.) and Maj 
Gen James Kirk, (Ret.), 18 Apr 57, OHF; (3) 
Lecture, Hatcher, Ordnance ' Production Difficul- 
ties and Their Solution, 20 Feb 39, ICAF. 

31 ( 1 ) Drewry, "Our New Service Rifle," The 
American Rifleman, vol. 86, No. 8 (August 
1938), pp. 5-9; (2) Capt. Frank J. Jervey, "The 
New Semiautomatic Rifle," Army Ordnance, XIX, 
No. 111 (November-December 1938), 144-47. 

32 See testimony by Maj Gen Milton A. Reck- 
ord, CG 29th Div, National Guard, before 
WDAB, H.R., 76th Cong., 3d sess., pp. 783-86, 
14 Mar 40. 



they were unwelcome whenever they 
approached a Garand or wanted to fire 
it." 33 

The Gar and- Johnson Controversy 

This official protective attitude toward 
the Garand was doubly suspicious in view 
of the fact that Capt. Melvin M, Johnson, 
Jr., USMC Reserve, had recently brought 
forth a rival semiautomatic. The Army 
had tested toolroom models of the Johnson 
rifle in the summer of 1938 and, follow- 
ing redesign, again in December 1939. 34 
It operated on the short-recoil principle 
and was designed so that its barrel could 
be quickly replaced in the field. The 
mechanical performance of the Johnson 
rifle was satisfactory, but in February 1 940 
the Ordnance Committee recommended 
that it be given no further consideration 
because it was not superior to the Garand 
for which Springfield Armory was already 
tooled. 35 This action, coupled with the 
bad impression made by the Garand at the 
1939 rifle matches, ' set off the fireworks. 
The Washington Evening Star ran a series 
of three articles in February 1940 under 
the heading "Battle Efficiency of Garand 
Rifle Provokes Controversy." The Associ- 
ated Press reported in March that the 
House military appropriations subcommit- 
tee was giving the rifle controversy "ex- 
haustive study behind closed doors." 3(5 
After failing to get answers from the 
Army to its questions about the Garand, 
or rifles for test, the NRA published an 
editorial in the April 1940 issue of 
The American Rifleman expressing grave 
doubts about the new weapon and its slow 
rate of production. 37 The editorial also 
questioned the Army's decision to drop its 
172-grain bullet in favor of the shorter 
range 152-grain bullet. The NRA urged 

the Army to lay all the facts on the table 
and clear up the whole rifle issue. 

The flames of controversy were fanned 
higher in May 1940 when The American 
Rifleman published a long article by one 
of its staff members who had obtained a 
Garand for personal test. Though gener- 
ally favorable to the Garand, the article 
pointed out shortcomings and cited the 
low production rate and the change in 
ammunition. 38 This article, together with 
testimony being presented to Congressional 
committees, inspired a series of newspaper 
and magazine articles on the subject. Life 
called it "one of the greatest military 
squabbles in U.S. history." 39 

During lengthy committee hearings 
Congressmen listened to conflicting testi- 
mony and found themselves as confused 
as the general public. 40 It seemed for a 
time in the spring of 1940 that appropria- 
tions for the Garand rifle might be stopped 

33 Hatcher, Book of the Garand, p. 129. Gen- 
eral Hatcher was chief of the Small Arms Di- 
vision, Manufacturing Service, OCO, during the 
early 1930's. His brother was Ordnance adviser at 
the national matches in 1939. 

' 14 (1) Ltr, ASW to Congressman Clyde L. 
Herring, 16 May 40, OO 474.2/2996; (2) Wes- 
son's testimony on these tests in Hearing. 1 :, H.R. 
WDAB, 1940, 76th Cong., 1st sess., 1 Feb 39. 
pp. 401-22. See also annual reports of Johnson 
Automatics, Inc., and other related material on 
Johnson rifles and light machine guns in folder 
Johnson Automatics, Incorporated, OHF. 

• 15 OCM 15650, 23 Feb 40. 

30 Associated Press dispatch, March 22, 1940. 

;)7 "The Courage to be Frank," The American 
Rifleman, vol. 88, No. 4 (April 1940), p. 4. 

• iS F. C. Ness, "M-i (Garand Semi-automatic) 
Rifle," The American Rifleman, vol. 88, No. 5 
(May 1940), 43-45. An article by the same au- 
thor on the Johnson rifle had appeared in the 
same magazine in November 1938, 

:>n Life, November 18, 1940, pp. 55-56. 

40 Hearings WDAB, 1940 and 1941, H.R. and 
S., 76th Cong., 1 st and 3d sess. See also Hearings 
on S. 3983, 76th Cong., 3d sess., 14 May 40. 
Excerpts from these sources are in OHF. 



entirely and all the time and money .spent 
in tooling up for its production might be 
wasted. The Army's claim that the Gar- 
and was an excellent weapon and the best 
semiautomatic available was hotly disputed 
before the Congressional committees by 
proponents of the Johnson rifle who insis- 
ted their weapon was more accurate, was 
less complicated in design, easier to main- 
tain in the field, and much simpler to 
manufacture. They also charged that the 
tests had not been conducted fairly. 41 
Ordnance replied that, as the Johnson 
rifle had never been produced in quantity, 
nor tested on a large scale, there was no 
real evidence that it would function better 
or could be produced more easily than the 
Garand. Long experience in weapons man- 
ufacture had taught Ordnance that un- 
foreseen difficulties nearly always app ar 
between the test of toolroom models and 
large-scale production, and that estimates 
of the time required to produce new 
weapons in quantity were seldom ful- 
filled. 42 Meanwhile, a member of the U.S. 
Senate introduced a bill to force adoption 
of the Johnson as the standard rifle for 
the Army and Navy. 43 

In defending the decision to drop long- 
range ammunition and produce only 
shorter-range types for all .30-caliber ma- 
chine guns and rifles, military spokesmen 
cited the Infantry Board's findings that 
the more powerful ammunition was not 
required for combat, and that it was 
dangerous to use in training because suit- 
able target ranges could seldom be found 
that would protect neighboring communi- 
ties. Adoption of the lower-powered am- 
munition for machine guns was defended 
on the ground that the 81 -mm. mortar 
eliminated the need for long-range ma- 
chine gun fire; that the new ammunition 
would permit longer life of barrels and 

parts and the searching of more area on 
the reverse sides of slopes; and that use of 
one type of .30-caliber ball ammunition 
would simplify manufacture. 44 The only 
real reason for the change, said the critics, 
was the heavy recoil when long-range 
ammunition was used in the Garand. Was 
it wise, they asked, to give up long-range 
ammunition to accommodate a weapon 
whose performance was doubtful in 
other respects? 

In April and May 1940 the House and 
Senate committees approved funds for 
manufacture of twenty five thousand more 
Garands. Though the Congressmen were 
not altogether sure that the Garand was 
better than the Johnson, they agreed with 
the Army that, as Springfield was being 
tooled for the Garand, it would be unwise 
to launch production of a second weapon. 
Meanwhile the Marine Corps held off re- 
placing its Springfields with either Johnsons 
or Garands, and the rifle controversy 
stayed very much alive all summer. Late 
in the year the Marines announced they 

41 As examples, see statement of Melvin M, 
Johnson, Sr., 13 May 40, before WDAB, 1941, 
S., copy in OHF. 

4 - For statement of Army views see Memo, 
ASW to SW, 30 Aug 40, OO 474.2/149, and 
Memo, Marshall for SW, 23 Apr 40, Hearings, 
S. Mil Affairs Comm., 76th Cong., 3d sess., 29 
May 40, pp. 82-85. See also Johnson's dispas- 
sionate summary in Rifles and Machine Guns, 
pp. 40-45. 

4:5 Hearings on S. 3983, 76th Cong., 3d sess., 
14 May 40. 

44 (1) "The Garand Rifle," Army Ordnance, 
XXI, No. 121 (July-August 1940), 52-57; (2) 
Hearings, WDAB, 1941, H.R. 76th Cong., 3d 
sess.; (3) Hatcher, Book of the Garand, pp. 125- 
27; (4) Ltr, McFarland to Congressman Walter 
G. Andrews, 10 May 40, OO 474.2/2982; (5) 
Memo, Gen Marshall for SW, 23 Apr 40, sub: 
Investigation of Gen Staff Concerning Mi Semi- 
automatic Rifle (Garand), copy in Hearings, S. 
Mil Affairs Comm., 76th Cong., 3d sess., On 
Johnson Semiautomatic Rifle, S.3983, 29 May 
t940, pp. 82-85. 



would conduct exhaustive tests of the 
Springfield, Garand, and Johnson, along 
with a third semiautomatic recently de- 
signed by Winchester. Held by an organi- 
zation that had no bias in favor of the 
Garand such as had been imputed to 
Ordnance, these tests commanded wide- 
spread interest and respect. The final 
report placed the Garand first among the 
semiautomatics; though no more accurate 
than the Johnson, it had proved itself 
more rugged and more reliable in opera- 
tion. The old reliable Springfield led the 
field in accuracy, ruggedness, and depen- 
dability, but it simply could not pour out 
lead as fast as the semiautomatics. The 
Winchester gun proved too susceptible to 
breakdown to be a serious contender in 
the competition. With release of this re- 
port and adoption of the Garand by the 
Marine Corps, public criticism of the new 
rifle subsided. Meanwhile Ordnance reme- 
died the defects in the early production 
models, and output of Garands rose 
rapidly as the long slow process of tooling 
up neared completion. As the emergency 
deepened, Springfield and Winchester were 
soon working around the clock; by mid- 
1941 Winchester was turning out over one 
hundred rifles per day, the Armory one 
thousand. 45 

Improved techniques helped speed pro- 
duction and saved both time and scarce 
materials. For barrel manufacture, Spring- 
field abandoned its practice of buying 
round bar stock of uniform diameter and 
substituted forged barrel blanks tapered 
toward one end. Time on the turning 
lathe machine for each barrel was cut in 
half. Cutting the rifling by broaches also 
saved time and yielded a better product. 46 
The introduction of tumbling as early as 
1940 to supplant burring and filing of 
several small components was another pro- 

duction short cut that grew in importance 
during the war. As they came from the 
machines, small parts were put in a mix- 
ture of light abrasive and oil or water in 
used beer kegs obtained from the local 
brewery. The kegs were then rotated gently 
until the parts were worn smooth and 
could be rinsed clean with hot water. 47 
All these short cuts were important, for 
the Garand was not an easy gun to make. 
It consisted of some seventy parts and 
required nearly one thousand machining 
operations. 48 

As a result of all these efforts, U.S. 
troops entered World War II with semi- 
automatic rifles that gave them a decided 
advantage over their enemies. No other 
major power equipped its soldiers with a 
really good semiautomatic rifle. The Rus- 

4 r> Report of Board to Conduct Competitive Test 
with Caliber .30 Rifles Held at Marine Corps 
Base, San Diego, Calif., 12 Nov 40-21 Dec 40, 
dtd 15 Jan 41, prepared by Hq Fleet Marine 
Force, Marine Corps Base, San Diego, Calif., 
OKD 474. 1/2 7. 1. The report of the Marine 
Corps board is also quoted in detail in Hatcher, 
Book of the Garand, pages 141-52. For further 
comments on the test, see ( 1 ) Mitchell, Hist of 
Small Arms Materiel, U.S. Rifle Cal. .30 Mi, 12 
Dec 44, p. 14; (2) Robert McCormick, "What 
Have We Got for Guns," Collier's, May 3, 1941, 
pp. 14-15; (3) "Report on the Garand," Time, 
March 12, 1941, pp. 20-21; (4) Smith, Small 
Arms of the World, p. 157; (5) Sharpe, op. cit., 
pp. 503-12. On production, see Hist, Springfield 
Armory, vol. II, bk. II, pp. 95-96 and chart 
following p. 145; Davis, PSP 37, U.S. Rifle Cal. 
.30, Jul 45, p. 66, OHF. 

46 "Rifling Machine-Gun Barrels by Broaching," 
Machinery, vol. 49, No. 2 (October 1942), 157— 
59- _ 

47 Hist, Springfield Armory, vol. II, bk. II 
(1939-41), pp. 86-105. For a description of 
older manufacturing techniques, , see Col. Gilbert 
H. Stewart, "Springfield Armory Tools up for 
New Semi-Automatic Rifles," Machinery, vol. 45. 
No. 5 (July 1939). 

48 Brig. Gen. James Kirk, "Machining the 
Garand Rifle," Iron Age, vol. 151, No. 19 (May 
13, 1943}. 66-71. 



sians used the Mi 940 Tokarev rifle ex- 
tensively but abandoned it because of its 
many inherent defects. During the war the 
Germans produced a few semiautomatics 
but they were never very effective and 
did not reach the battlefield in significant 
numbers. The standard German rifle at 
the end of the war was still a bolt-action 
piece. The only reasonably satisfactory Jap- 
anese semiautomatic in World War II was 
an imitation of the Garand. 49 

The Carbine Enters the Picture 

One of the most popular items of ord- 
nance used by American troops in World 
War II was the lightweight carbine. De- 
signed to replace the automatic pistol 
for certain purposes, it was intended pri- 
marily as a defensive weapon for service 
troops; but it also appealed to combat in- 
fantrymen as a companion weapon for the 
more powerful Garand, and was affection- 
ately nicknamed "baby Garand." Fully 
loaded with a 15-cartridge magazine and 
with sling attached, it weighed less than 
six pounds and was about three feet long. 
It was fairly accurate at ranges up to 
three hundred yards — at least four times 
the effective range of the pistol. A gas- 
operated, semiautomatic weapon, the car- 
bine followed some of the design principles 
of the Garand, but with certain distinctive 

Selecting the Best Design 

By definition, a carbine is a light rifle 
with a short barrel, commonly used during 
the nineteenth century by mounted troops. 
Early in the twentieth century, carbines 
passed out of the picture in the United 
States as the Springfield rifle, adopted in 
1903, proved satisfactory for both mounted 

and foot troops. But by the 1940's, air- 
craft, tanks, and new infantry weapons 
had brought about marked changes in 
military tactics. Cavalry was no longer as 
important as it had been, but new elements 
with even greater mobility had come on 
the scene with the result that flanks and 
rear areas, including airfields, were under 
constant threat of air or mechanized at- 
tack. At the same time, the addition to 
small infantry units of such weapons as 
machine guns, trench mortars, and anti- 
tank guns brought the need for an auxili- 
ary offensive-defensive weapon for the 
soldiers who manned them or carried am- 
munition for them. The pistol was ideal 
for combat at point-blank range. It was 
issued to officers, to troops manning crew- 
served weapons, and to rear area service 
troops, but few soldiers could hit anything 
with it beyond twenty-five yards. As a 
full-size rifle was unnecessarily heavy for 
such troops, the carbine seemed to be the 

The Infantry, as early as 1938, had 
asked that Ordnance develop a .30-caliber 
carbine weighing five pounds or less, and 
with an accuracy range of three hundred 
yards. Ordnance objected on the ground 

H " (1) DA Pamphlet 30-50-r, Handbook on 
The Soviet and Satellite Armies, pt. I — The 
Soviet Army, Mar 53, p. 96; (2) Biennial Rpt of 
the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army to SW, Jul 
1, 43-Jun 30, 45> PP- 97-98; (3) Shields, From 
Flintlock to Mr, p. 172; (4) Smith, Small Arms 
of the World, pp. 153, 157-58; (5) PSP 83, 
Small Arms Development in World War II, Jul 
47, by R&D Div, p. 4. 

50 History of Small Arms Materiel, U.S. Car- 
bine, Cal. .30, prepared by Maj. H. P. Smith and 
William H. Davis under the direction of Mitchell 
[1945]. This manuscript study, prepared in the 
Small Arms Branch of the Industrial Service, is 
the best account of carbine development and 
production. See also Brig. Gen. James Kirk, 
"Manufacturing the Light Carbine," Iron Age, 
vol. 151, No. 14 (April 8, 1943), 47-52. 



that such a weapon would require special 
ammunition. But the Infantry pressed its 
demand, and in the fall of 1940 a definite 
requirement was set up for a weapon of 
this type. 51 Thereafter events moved with 
bewildering speed. Ordnance requested 
Winchester, which had extensive exper- 
ience with ammunition for semiautomatic 
weapons, to undertake design of a cart- 
ridge for the proposed carbine. Modeled 
on an existing Winchester .32-caliber cart- 
ridge, the new carbine ammunition was 
submitted in November 1940, found sa- 
tisfactory, and approved for production in 
small experimental lots. 52 

Meanwhile Ordnance had sent a circu- 
lar to gun manufacturers and designers 
throughout the country inviting submission 
of model weapons for preliminary engineer- 
ing tests. Of the nine models presented for 
trial in the summer of 1941, three did not 
meet the general specifications and were 
withdrawn, leaving six models actually 
tested. Though all showed promise, none 
was entirely satisfactory. As a result of the 
tests, the Ordnance Committee dropped 
the requirement for full-automatic fire, 
deciding that the proposed carbine should 
be strictly semiautomatic. Two of the guns 
tested showed such promise that five tool- 
room models of each, embodying the im- 
provements recommended after the tests, 
were ordered. One was the Bendix Aviation 
Corporation entry designed by George J. 
Hyde; the other was the Springfield 
Armory entry designed by John C. Garand. 
In August 1940, Hyde had become associ- 
ated with the Inland Manufacturing Di- 
vision of General Motors Corporation, and 
had constructed there the toolroom models 
of his design. At the same time, Inland 
signed a contract for preparation of pro- 
duction studies of both the Hyde and Gar- 
and models. 53 

Since none of the models tested in May 
and June proved satisfactory, Ordnance 
extended the deadline until 15 September 
1 94 1, the date set for the final service tests. 
It urged inventors to improve and re- 
submit their guns, and invited designers 
who had not yet entered the contest to do 
so. In July 1 94 1 Ordnance, impressed by 
an improved version of Winchester's semi- 
automatic rifle, asked Winchester to build 
a sample carbine of similar design. Fully 
occupied with production of the Mi 
rifle and other development work, Win- 
chester had not submitted a carbine for 
the earlier tests. But in just fourteen days 
after accepting Ordnance's invitation to 
construct a carbine, Winchester completed 
a handmade first model. Though not a 
finished product, it passed its preliminary 
tests at Aberdeen on 11 August 1941. 
There remained only thirty-four days for 
Winchester to perfect its design and com- 
plete an improved specimen for entry in 
the general service tests set for 15 Septem- 
ber. After intensive day and night work 

•' 1 ( 1 ) Record of Army Ordnance Research and 
Development, vol. 2, Small Arms and Small Arms 
Ammunition, bk. I, ch. 2, Jan 46, OHF; (2) 
Design, Development and Production of Carbine, 
Cal. .30, Jan 45, by OCO, p. 1, OHF; (3) Ltr, 
Coflnf to CofOrd, 25 Mar 38, sub: Weapons 
and Ammo Carriers, OO 474/3991; (4) Ltr, Cof- 
lnf to TAG thru CofOrd, 16 Sep 38, sub: Light 
Weapons for Ammo Carriers, OO 474/4246; (5) 
Ltr, Coflnf to TAG, 15 Jun 40, sub: Carbine for 
Infantry Soldiers, with Indorsements 1 through 
7, OO 474.5/120. 

■'- (1) Hist of Small Arms Materiel, U.S. Car- 
bine, Cal. .30, 1945; (2) Design, Development, 
and Prod of Carbine, Cal. .30, Jan 45; (3) 
Sharpe, op. cit., pp. 532-44. 

" ' (1) Hist of Small Arms Materel, U.S. Car- 
bine, Cal. .30, pp. 6-7; (2) Hist, Cincinnati Ord 
Dist, vol. I, pt. 2, 1922-42, pp. 23-26; (3) Hist, 
Cincinnati Ord Dist, vol. 100, pt. 2, Contractor 
Histories — Inland Div of General Motors Corp. 



that set a new record for weapon develop- 
ment, Winchester met the deadline. 54 

All told, six models were entered in the 
September tests, including one each of the 
two designs that had earlier showed such 
promise that Ordnance had ordered tool- 
room models. The Winchester carbine out- 
performed them all. On 30 September 
1 94 1, exactly one year after Ordnance had 
first announced that a carbine was de- 
sired by the Army and only two months 
after Winchester had started work on its 
design, the Ordnance Committee recom- 
mended standardization of the Winchester 
model. This recommendation was formally 
approved on 22 October 1941, and the 
new weapon was given the designation 
carbine, caliber .30, Mi. 55 

Production Contracts 

Just as speed had keynoted development 
of the new weapon, speed became the goal 
for getting into production. The first 
requirement was set at 886,698, and funds 
were at once made available for procure- 
ment. 50 Since Winchester's facilities were 
inadequate to turn out this number, Ord- 
nance selected as a second contractor 
GMC's Inland Division, which had gained 
some knowledge of carbine manufacture 
through its production studies of the 
Hyde, Springfield, and Winchester models. 
Without waiting until an agreement could 
be worked out with the government re- 
garding manufacturing rights, Winchester 
quickly agreed to share its knowledge with 
Inland. In November 1941, Ordnance 
placed large contracts with both Win- 
chester and Inland for each to produce at 
the rate of one thousand per day. 57 Soon 
thereafter Winchester assigned a license to 
the United States Government for produc- 
tion of Mi carbines in exchange for a fee 
of $886,ooo. 58 

Post-Pearl Harbor Requirements 

Pearl Harbor found the United States 
with something over 1,600,000 rifles on 
hand, in depot stocks, and in the hands of 
troops, including state guards. They were 
mostly Springfields and Enfields, but in- 
cluded nearly 350,000 new Garands. The 
inventory also included about 480,000 
pistols and revolvers, about 60,000 ma- 
chine guns (mostly .30-caliber) and some 
56,000 BAR's. 59 During the hectic weeks 
that followed the attack on Pearl Harbor, 
Anglo-American planners drew up ambi- 
tious programs for procuring millions of 
additional small arms. In his message to 

5 * The story of the carbine's development is 
briefly told by Edwin Pugsley, a Winchester ex- 
ecutive, in his epilogue to Williamson, Winchester 
—The Gun That Won The West, pages 385-88. 
See also Edwin Pugsley, Development of the .30 
caliber Ml Carbine, 12 Jul 44, a five-page his- 
torical summary filed in OO 474-5/8387, copy in 
OHF; Hist, SA Materiel, U.S. Carbine, Cal. .30, 
pp. 3-4; Sharpe, op. cit., pp. 536-37; Johnson, 
Rifles and Machine Guns, pp. 46-48. 257-60; 
and Arcadi Gluckman, United States Muskets, 
Rifles and Carbines (Buffalo: O. Ulbrich Com- 
pany, 1948), pp. 444-47- 

95 (1) OCM 17278, 30 Sep 41; (2) OCM 
17360, 22 Oct 41. 

Design, Development and Prod of Carbine, 
Cal. .30, Jan 45, p. 6. 

97 (1) Ibid,; (2) Memo, CofOrd for Brig Gen 
Rutherford, OUSW, 4 Nov 41, sub: Proposed 
Site for Manufacture of Rifle, U.S. Carbine, Cal. 
.30, Mi, at Inland Mfg. Div. . . , OO 675/ 
2 1 715 Misc.; (3) Ltr, CofOrd to OUSW, 31 
Oct 41, sub: Negotiated Contract (re Mi Car- 
bine at Winchester), OO 160/78532; (4) Hist 
of SA Materiel, U.S. Carbine, Gal. .30, pp. 16-' 
17; (5) Hist, Cincinnati Ord Dist, vol. I, pt. 2, 
1922-42, pp. 23-36 and vol. 100, pt. 1, Con- 
tractor Histories Inland Div, GMC. 

58 (1) Design, Development and Production of 
the Carbine, Cal. .30, p. 26, citing contract 
ORD-625, OO 160/131149; (2) Pugsley, Devel- 
opment of the .30 Caliber Mi Carbine; {3) 
Sharpe, op. cit., pp. 538-39. 

These figures were compiled from a variety 
of documents in small arms document notebook, 



Congress on 6 January 1942, President 
Roosevelt set the pace by listing require- 
ments for one million machine guns of all 
kinds. In the Army's munitions program of 
February 1942, rifle requirements were set 
at four million for the year 1942; the 
staggering total of twelve million rifles be- 
came the goal for production by June 
1944. In addition, more than four million 
carbines were to be turned out during the 
same 30-month period, plus three and a 
half million pistols and five million sub- 
machine guns. The grand total was twenty 
five million weapons. 60 Only about one- 
third of the rifles were for United States 
forces; the remaining two-thirds — over five 
million Springfields, nearly a million Gar- 
ands, and over a million Enfields — were 
scheduled for lend-lease. 

Even for some of the Army people these 
figures appeared high. The following ex- 
change at the production conference on 
small arms in February 1942 illustrates 
the feeling of incredulity with which some 
planners viewed the post-Pearl Harbor re- 

Gen. Somervell: I would just like to ask 
a question. It may be terribly ignorant, but 
we set up for an American army of 10 mil- 
lion people, 528,000 of these machine guns. 
Now we are proposing to build 1,302,000 of 
them. In other words, it will be for an army 
of about 24 million people. 

Judge Patterson: What's this? Where do 
you get that figure? 

General Somervell : Take line three. . . . 
God, I just don't believe it. 

General Aurand: I can explain it . . . 
About from 75 to 80 percent of the tanks 
that are on this program are Defense Aid 
tanks. ... If we are going to get the tanks 
. . . and other things that are in there, we 
are going to have these machine guns for 

General Moore: They are basing that on 
a lot of wastage, a lot of short life for tanks, 
and of course if a tank goes out, a machine 

gun goes with it. So it really isn't based on 
the number of men: it is based on the 
tanks.* 1 

To supply U.S. ground forces with small 
arms, to provide machine guns for air- 
planes and tanks, and to meet the some- 
times frantic demands of friendly nations 
— all this added up to an impossible pro- 
duction load. Ordnance drew up plans to 
boost output of rifles, machine guns, 
submachine guns, and pistols, but by June 
1942 requirements were scaled down, 
chiefly through cuts in lend-lease. Garand 
rifles, for example, were eliminated alto- 
gether from foreign aid and were reserved 
exclusively for U.S. forces. By November 
1942 requirements had been cut still fur- 
ther to bring them within the realm of 
possible achievement. Lend-lease require- 
ments were set at about two and a half 
million rifles, mostly .303-caliber Lee- 
Enfields. For U.S. forces the November 
1942 Army Supply Program called for 
more than three and a half million Garands 
and nearly five and a half million carbines 
by December 1944. Production schedules 
for these two weapons were closely co- 
ordinated because it was hoped that a 
shortage of one could be temporarily off- 
set by increased production of the other. 

Rifle Production 

World War II rifle production in the 
United States included five main types: 
the Springfield, the Browning automatic 

''" (1) Overall Requirements for War Munitions 
Program, 1 1 Feb 42; (2) Memo, USW for G-4. 
21 Feb 42, USW file 104 Rifles, copy in OHF. 

Review of Prod Plans of the SA Div, 20 Feb 
42, pp. 29-30. See also Memo, USW for G-4, 
2r Feb 42, wherein Patterson asked for a review 
of the huge requirements for small arms, and 
Memo, G-4 for USW, 23 Feb 42, wherein Somer- 
vell defended existing requirements. Both in USW 
file 104 Rifles, and copy in OHF. 



rifle (BAR), the Brtitish Lee-Enfield, the 

Garand, and the carbine. [See Table 15. 
The newest and smallest, the carbine, won 
the quantity production laurels, its more 
than six million nearly equaling the total 
for the other four. The Garand was the 
preferred weapon for front-line troops, 
but during 1942 and 1943 its production 
could not keep up with demand. Oldest 
of the lot was the Springfield, adopted 
while Theodore Roosevelt was in the White 
House but still able to hold its own when 
matched with newer designs, and useful as 
a substitute for the Garand. Most unusual 
from the production viewpoint was the 
BAR, manufactured chiefly by a group of 
firms known as the New England Small 
Arms Corporation. 


As noted above, manufacture of Spring- 
field rifles for the British got under way 
in 1 94 1 at Remington's Ilion plant with 
machinery shipped from Rock Island. But 
many problems arose. Some machine tools 
needed by Remington were not supplied by 
the arsenal, and many were badly worn 
from previous hard use. Remington had to 
obtain hundreds of new manufacturing 
drawings as well as a large number of 
gages. Worst of all, the tools and tech- 
niques from Rock Island were outdated; 
newer and cheaper manufacturing proc- 
esses developed since 19 18 had not been 
adapted to manufacture of the Springfield 
rifle. In the early days, highly skilled 
craftsmen had literally hewn parts of the 
Springfield out of solid steel blocks and, 
by careful machining and hand finishing, 
had produced components that functioned 
so well when assembled that every gun 
fancier was proud to own a Springfield. 
But such methods were costly in terms of 

time, materials, and skilled manpower. 

Just as the first pieces were coming off 
the line at Ilion, Pearl Harbor brought a 
desperate need for speedier production. 
Remington at once began work on design 
changes and improved techniques to 
simplify manufacture. It eliminated the 
polishing of outside surfaces; increased tol- 
erances on outside surfaces to permit 
finishing of forgings by buffing instead of 
machining; redesigned twenty-three parts 
so they could be made of stampings in- 
stead of forgings; and eliminated several 
parts completely. As a result, each rifle 
required less steel, less labor, and less 
machine-tool time. More parts were sub- 
contracted to firms with stamping facilities. 
The modified gun — no longer the collec- 
tor's pride, but still an effective weapon 
— was approved for manufacture in May 
1942 as Mi903A3. 02 Another change to 
speed production came later when tests 
at Aberdeen proved that two rifling grooves 
gave just as good results as the traditional 
four, but the effect on production was not 
great because plants already tooled for 4- 
groove production continued without 
change. fiS 

'"- ( r ) Hist, Rochester Ord Dist, vol. 100. pt. g. 
Contractor Histories Summary Report. Produc- 
tion of Rifle, U.S. Cal. .30 M1903 and Migo3.A.3 
at Ilion Works of the Remington Arms Co., Inc.. 
g May 43, by Remington Arms Co.. Inc.: (2) 
Mitchell, Hist, SA Materiel; U.S. Rifle Cal. .30 
Mig03, [1945], pp. 23-28; (3) Ltr, Rochester 
Ord Dist to OCO, 14 Jun 44. sub: Historical 
Data — SA Materiel, with attached rpt dtd 15 
Jun 44. sub: Product'on of Rifles, U.S. Cal. .30 
Mi 903 in Rochester Ord Dist, pt. I Remington 
Arms Co.. OO 474/3053; (4) Ltr, Col Drewry, 
OCO io Rochester Ord Dist, 2a Apr 42, sub: 
Change in Contract DA-W-740-Ord-'^6 Rem- 
ington Arms Co., OO 400.3295/55624 Misc. (x) ; 
(5) Ltr, Remington Arms Co., Inc., to Col Guy 
H. Drewry, 19 Feb 42, re modification of Ml 903 
rifle, OO 474. 1/1 132. 

BS (r) Mitchell, Hist, SA Materiel, U.S. Rifle 
Cal. .30 M1903 [1945], p. 3t; (2) OCM 19053, 



Requirements for Springfields were so 
high in early 1942 that Ordnance brought 
in a second producer, the L. C. Smith- 
Corona Typewriter Corporation of Syra- 
cuse, N.Y. The first contract was for 
100,000 rifles followed in July by a second 
order for 280,000 to be completed by 
December 1943. Smith-Corona subcon- 
tracted with twenty other firms for minor 
components. Production was hampered by 
the fact that Remington had not com- 
pleted its redesign work before Smith- 
Corona started production. A continuous 
series of design changes marked the pro- 
duction period, with one change order in 
July 1943 affecting practically every com- 
ponent. 64 

By the fall of 1943 termination of con- 
tracts for Springfields was in sight, for 
Garands and carbines were by then being 
turned out in quantity and requirements 
had been lowered. Remington and Smith- 
Corona completed their final rifles in Feb- 
ruary, 1944. Remington continued with 
the manufacture of spare rifle parts while 
Smith-Corona, after completing 234,580 
Mi 903 rifles, returned to making type- 
writers. Total output of the two contrac- 
tors was 1,318,951 Mi 903 rifles of all 
types.' 1 '"' 

Lag in Garand Production 

In the fall of 1941 Springfield Armory's 
production of 1,000 Garands per day 
looked good, but after Pearl Harbor it fell 
far short of meeting requirements. It had 
to be raised to 2,000 per day, and then 

15 Oct 42; 19129, 4 Nov 42; (3) Ltr, Maj Sam 
Marshall, OCO, to CO, Springfield Armory, 23 
Oct 42, sub: Two Groove Rifling for Rifle Barrels, 
OO 474.4/802; (4) Julian S. Hatcher, Hatcher's 
Notebook (Harrisburg, Pa.: The Military Service 
Publishing Company, 1947), pp. 7, 17. 

boosted to 3,000 while Winchester raised 
its output from 100 per day to 750. In 
August 1942, total production amounted 
to 68,660 for the month while require- 
ments to the end of the program in June 
1944 stood at about four million, or 
200,000 per month. It was a huge gap 
that was not closed until the war was 
nearly over. 

All during 1942, 1943, and early 1944 
production of the Garand lagged behind 
requirements, lending support to the argu- 
ment of critics that it was a hard-to- 
manufacture weapon. Springfield was 
plagued by one problem after another. 66 
Slow deliveries of new equipment ham- 
pered it at the outset, and then lack of 
materials slowed production. Late in 1942 
the War Production Board, apparently 
acting without full knowledge of the facts, 
canceled the Armory's order for receiver 
steel with the result that forging operations 
on receivers stopped for four weeks. New 
broaching techniques were adopted to save 
time and material, but for a long period 
the Armory's broaching capacity was in- 
sufficient to meet the rifle schedule of 
90,000 per month. Labor turnover, includ- 
ing the drafting of several experienced 
machine operators, also held back produc- 
tion. At Winchester, slow delivery of new 
heat-treating furnaces delayed production. 
The requirement of complete interchange- 

Hist, Rochester Ord Dist, vol. 100, pt. 9, 
Contractor Histories — Rifle Production at the 
Syracuse Plant of L. C. Smith & Corona Type- 
writers, Inc. during World War II, 14 May 45, 
by Harold McD. Brown. 

fir ' (1) Whiting, Statistics, Proc sec, 9 Apr 52, 
p. 47; (2) PP 76, Small Arms and Small Arms 
Ammunition, Design, Development and Procure- 
ment 1917-45, Jun 45, pp. 6-10. 

l;f ' As an example, see Ltr, Col G. A. Woody. 
Springfield Armory, to CofOrd, 25 Feb 41, sub: 
Expansion of Mi Rifle Prod, OO 400.12/4138, 
copy in OHF. 


Table 15 — Rifle Production, 1940-1945 

Type of Weapon 


Garand (including 6,896 sniper models) 

Springfield (including 28,365 sniper models) 

Browning automatic (BAR) 

Lee-Enfield, .303-caliber (British) 

Carbines, .30-caliber 


Source Whiting, Statiities, Table PR-8. 

ability of all parts caused Winchester the 
most trouble, for in commercial practice 
such interchangeability was not required. 67 
Considering the long period of preparation 
at Springfield Armory, Winchester's educa- 
tional order in 1939, and the urgency of 
Garand production, output during the 
1940-42 period was a major disappoint- 
ment in the Ordnance record. The weap- 
on's high quality was not matched by a 
sufficiently high rate of production until the 
end of 1943. 98 [Table 15) 


The ink had barely dried on the first 
two carbine contracts with Winchester and 
Inland in 1941 when the United States 
found itself at war. Before Pearl Harbor, 
requirements for carbines had stood at 
886,698, but the War Munitions Program 
drawn up in February 1942 listed over one 
million needed by the end of 1942 and 
over three million by the end of 1943. As 
Winchester and Inland were being set up 
to produce only one thousand each per 
day and could not start producing at all 
before June, achievement of the one 
million goal for 1942 was clearly impossi- 
ble for them. Part of the 1942 shortage 
could be offset by speeding production of 
Springfields and by issuing old Enfields in 
place of carbines, but for the future ad- 

ditional producers had to be lined up. As 
no single plant could meet the whole 
deficit, five smaller plants were placed 
under contract, each to turn out thirty 
thousand carbines per month. Known as 
the second wave of carbine plants, these 
were the Rock-Ola Company and Quality 
Hardware and Machine Company, both of 
Chicago; Irwin- Pederson Arms Company 
of Grand Rapids; Underwood-Elliott- 
Fisher Company of Hartford, Conn.; and 
the Rochester Defense Corporation of 
Rochester, N.Y. 09 Most were inexperi- 
enced in munitions making, having turned 
from making hardware, juke boxes, and 

" 7 See General Report on Small Arms Produc- 
tion, 18 Mar 43, by War Projects Unit, Bur of 
the Budget, pt. VII, copy in OHF. 

<is Manufacturing and inspection techniques are 
discussed below in lChapter XIVI; in Hist, Spring- 
field Armory, vol. II, bk. II, 1939-41, pp. 100- 
104; and in PSP 76. For conservation of materi- 
als, see Green, T homson, and Roots, Planning 
Munitions for War, |ch, XVII I~| 

Rochester Defense Corp. was taken over by 
the National Postal Meter Co. in the summer of 
1942, and National Postal Meter became Com- 
mercial Controls Corp. in 1944; (1) Design, 
Development and Production of Carbine Cal. 
.30, Jan 45, by OCO, pp. 7-9; (2) Hist, SA 
Materiel, U.S. Carbine Cal. .30 [1945], pp. 18- 
21; (■)) Correspondence between OCO and 
OUSW in Mar and Apr 42, filed in OO 160; (4) 
History, Procurement of Carbine Cal. .30 Mi in 
Chicago Ord Dist, 28 Jun 46, by Samuel O. Rice, 
Historian Chicago Ord Dist, filed in Hist, Chicago 
Ord Dist, vol. 100, pt. 3 — Contractor Histories. 



typewriters; yet all but one proved suc- 

No sooner had these five new producers 
been added than further expansion became 
necessary. By June 1942 carbine require- 
ments had jumped to over four million 
needed by the end of 1943. In what was 
known as the third wave of expansion a 
contract was awarded in August 1942 to 
Standard Products Company of Port Clin- 
ton, Ohio, for manufacture of carbines at 
the rate of forty five thousand per 
month. 70 Meanwhile Inland had started 
producing in June, only six months after 
signing its contract, and by the end of the 
year reached a rate of one thousand per 
day. Winchester started producing in Sep- 
tember, followed by Underwood-Elliott- 
Fisher and Rock-Ola in November. Al- 
though the November 1942 Army Supply 
Program made deep cuts in most items, 
the drop in carbine requirements was 
slight and the need for additional pro- 
ducers again became apparent. In January 
and February 1943 contracts were placed 
with International Business Machines Cor- 
poration and Saginaw Steering Gear Di- 
vision of General Motors Corporation, 
both of whom were nearing completion of 
orders for other types of small arms. This 
so-called fourth wave brought the total of 
carbine prime contractors to ten. Of this 
group, Inland, the first plant to start 
producing, became the leader, making 
available to other firms the details of its 
manufacturing techniques along with 
drawings and specifications for tools, jigs, 
and fixtures. Because of its close contacts 
with gage manufacturers, Inland was 
awarded a contract for procurement of 
gages for the entire carbine program. 71 Of 
all the carbine contractors, the only one 
that failed to produce was Irwin-Pederson. 
After this concern experienced many pro- 

duction problems Ordnance canceled the 
contract, purchased the company's plant at 
Grand Rapids, and arranged for Saginaw 
Steering to operate it. 72 

Integration Committees 

With so many contractors in the carbine 
picture the need for over-all co-ordination 
soon arose. In late March 1942 Ordnance 
called together representatives of the seven 
prime contractors, discussed production 
problems, and gradually worked out pro- 
cedures for interchange of ideas, raw ma- 
terials, and machine tools. At first called 
Carbine Production Committee, this group 
later took the name of industry integration 
committee in common with other similar 
committees formed by the Ordnance De- 
partment. The carbine committee appears 
to have been the first such committee 
formed by the Ordnance Department, with 
the mechanical time fuze committee a close 
second. The carbine committee was 
headed in the beginning by Lt. Col. Ed- 

70 For a graphic description of this company's 
work, see Thomas E. Lloyd, "Mass Production of 
the Caliber 0.30 M-i Carbine," Iron Age, vol. 
'5?, No. 9 (August 26, 1943), 42-47- 

71 Rpt, Production History of Carbine Cal. .30 
Mr and M1A1, filed as Incl 1 to 1st Indorsement, 
Cincinnati Ord Dist to CofOrd, 22 Apr 44, sub: 
Historical Data, Carbine Cal. .30 Mi, Inland 
Manufacturing Co., OO 474.5/7279. 

7 - (1) Ltr, Brig Gen James Kirk, OCO, to De- 
troit Ord Dist, 20 Mar 43, sub: Contract W- 
374-Ord-i548 with Irwin-Pedersen Arms Co., 
with attached Ltr, Maj Gen Thomas J. Hayes, 
OCO, to Director of Purchases Div SOS, 10 Mar 

43, sub: Termination of Order for 146,735 Car- 
bines, Mi, with Irwin-Pedersen. . . , OO 160/ 
941 29 — Irwin-Pedersen Arms Co.; (2) Out of the 
Valley to Victory, published by Sag'naw Steering 
Gear Div of GMC in 1943; (3) Rpt, Historical 
Data on Carbine Cal. .30 — Irwin-Pedersen Co. 
and Saginaw Steering Gear Div of GMC, 1 Jul 

44, filed in folder marked Hist of Carbine Cal. 
.30, OHF. 


Producing Carbine Barrels. Finished 
broaching the rifling grooves in the carbine ba 

ward C. Franklin as chairman and Mr. D. 
M. Fincke of the Underwood-Elliott-Fisher 
Company as assistant chairman. It became 
a central clearing house for all sorts of 
problems encountered by the prime con- 

In the early stages, the committee held 
meetings every month or six weeks to dis- 
cuss engineering changes that would 
improve the functioning of the carbine or 
speed its manufacture. It forwarded rec- 
ommendations to the Office Chief of Ord- 
nance and Springfield Armory for review 
and approval. 73 Meetings to discuss inspec- 
tion procedures were held at regular 
intervals and included representatives of 
district offices and resident inspectors from 
each carbine plant. At frequent intervals 
the committee conducted interchangeabil- 
ity tests as checks on the standardization 
of inspection procedures at the various 


barrels ready for the assembly department (left); 
rrels ( right ). 

plants. Carbines from each plant were 
brought together, disassembled, their parts 
systematically scrambled, and then reas- 
sembled and tested. 74 

A special problem for carbine producers 
was the supply of alloy steel. Though the 
amounts required by the individual car- 
bine contractors were small, the contrac- 
tors were compelled to buy in large quanti- 
ties at the insistence of the steel mills, 
which would deliver only minimum mill 
heats. This left some carbine producers 
with a year's supply of steel on hand while 

73 See Flow Chart of Carbine Industry Integra- 
tion Committee Engineering Changes in History 
of Carbine Industry Integration Committee and 
Prior Carbine Committee, pt. IV, OHF. 

71 Hist, Carbine Industry Integration Comm. 
and Prior Carbine Comms., 15 Apr 44, OHF. 
This history reproduces many of the basic docu- 
ments and describes the activities of the commit- 
tee in detail. 



Completed Carbines, 30-caliber MI, are checked by company inspectors at end of assem- 
bly line. 

other producers were unable to get enough 
to assure continuous production. To deal 
with this situation a Raw Materials Facil- 
ity, or central steel warehouse, was estab- 
lished and operated under contract by 
Brace-Mueller-Huntley, Inc. The carbine 
contractors, together with machine gun 
and other small arms contractors, placed 
their special steel orders with this central 
warehouse; it in turn pooled them into 
large orders placed with the steel mills. 
The Raw Materials Facility contract was 
:anceled in the spring of 1943, shortly 
ifter the Controlled Materials Plan became 
:ffective. 75 

The Production Record 

Only 115,000 carbines were delivered in 
1942 against a requirement for more than 
one million, and Springfields and Enfields 

had to be substituted for carbines. But in 
1943, with ten plants in production, output 
reached nearly three million, against a re- 
quirement for four million. As requirements 
for 1944 were only half those for 1943, 
the deficit was carried over to make 1944 
requirements approximately three million. 
The end of 1943, with production at the 
rate of 500,000 per month, found Ord- 
nance planning drastic cuts in carbine 
capacity. Action followed promptly, and of 
nine firms in production in January only 
two, Inland and Winchester, were still 

75 (1) Hist, Ind Serv, SA Div, vol. I, 1939-43, 
pp. 10-11 and vol. VII, Hist of Small Arms Raw 
Materiels Facility at Rochester, N.Y. ; (2) Ltr, 
Brig Gen Levin H. Campbell, Jr., to OUSW, 6 
Feb 42, sub: Proposed Establishment of a Central 
Warehouse for Supply of Steel for SA Mfg, 
OO 160/117290; (3) Planning Sheets, Equip- 
ment Sec of ASP, by SA Div, Ind Serv, 15 Jun 
42, p. 4 and 15 Sep 42, p. 1 1. 



producing in June. Both the latter firms 
were low-cost producers and both were in 
noncritical labor areas. Between them they 
were easily able to meet carbine require- 
ments for the rest of the war. Total pro- 
duction of carbines during three and a 
half years was a little over six million, 
probably the greatest quantity of small 
arms of any kind ever produced in such a 
short time. 

In the spring of 1944 the Army achieved 
its original goal — a carbine that could be 
set for full automatic as well as semiauto- 
matic fire. The M2 carbine, as it was 
called, went into production at Inland in 
April 1944 and at Winchester the follow- 
ing month. By April 1945, with the col- 
lapse of all German resistance in sight, 
Inland had reached a production rate of 
more than 100,000 per month. Meanwhile 
Mi carbines not yet issued to troops were 
modified for selective automatic fire. 76 

The BAR 

The Browning automatic rifle — part 
rifle, part machine gun — was familiarly 
known to U.S. infantrymen of both World 
Wars as the BAR. Only slight change oc- 
curred in the 191 8 model during the 
1920's and 1930's, and substantial quanti- 
ties left over from World War I were held 
in storage. But, after transfer of some 
twenty-five thousand to the British in 1940 
-41, followed by rapid expansion of the 
U.S. Army, the post- Pearl Harbor require- 
ment for 150,000 BAR's demanded imme- 
diate new production as well as moderniza- 
tion at Springfield Armory of the Migi8's 
in stock. During the winter of 1941-42, 
six New England firms, 77 with encour- 
agement from Ordnance, formed the New 
England Small Arms Corporation for man- 
ufacture of BAR's and other munitions, 

using some government-owned equipment 
left over from World War L After award 
of the first contract early in 1942 this 
corporation continued throughout the war 
as the main source of BAR's. Manufacture 
of components was carried out by the six 
member companies in their own plants or 
by subcontractors. The corporation en- 
countered its share of manufacturing 
problems, including scarcity of machine 
tools, slow delivery of materials, lack of 
skilled workers, and mistakes in Ordnance 
drawings. 78 But production began early 
in 1943 and eventually rose to a total of 
over 168,000 rifles plus spare parts. 

Ordnance had meanwhile placed a con- 
tract with a second producer, International 
Business Machines, to assure an adequate 
supply. This firm quickly reached the pro- 
duction stage and by May 1943 was tuny- 
ing out five thousand BAR's per month. 
A few weeks later requirements dropped 
and Ordnance terminated the contract 
after only about twenty thousand rifles 
had been produced. To make use of the 
equipment IBM had installed, Ordnance 
placed with IBM a substantial order for 
carbines, which were then on the critical 
list. 79 

Machine Guns 

With about 140,000 machine guns left 
over from World War I, the Army felt no 

70 Supplement I to History of Carbines, Cal. 
.30, Jul 44 to Jun 45, by C. A. S. Howlett, 19 
Jul 45, OHF. 

77 International Silver Co., Blake Mfg Corp., 
Elliott Addressing Machine Co., National Blank 
Book Co., A. G. Spalding and Brothers, and the 
Boston Wire Stitcher Co. See Hist, Boston Ord 
Dist, I, 65-66. See PSP 41, Browning Automatic 
Rifle, Development, Procurement and Production 
1917 to 1945 by Capt. Charles H. Schroder; 
Hist, Boston Ord Dist, Jan-Jun 44, pp. 40-48. 

78 Hist, Boston Ord Dist, Jun 44, pp. 40-49, 
and vol. 100, pt. 6. 

7B Hist, New York Ord Dist, II, pt. 1, 372-77. 



* • * . 




John M. Browning, Gun Inventor, attending a World War I conference with officials 
of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company. From left: Val A. Browning, Edwin Pugsley, 
Fred Werme, Mr. Browning, Frank F. Burton, and William C. Roemer. 

urgent need for new production during 
the 1920's and early 1930's. As time went 
on, the various wartime types — Lewis, 
Vickers, Marlin, and others — were one by 
one declared obsolete, though prudently 
kept in storage for an emergency, until 
only the Browning models remained as 
standard. At Springfield and Rock Island 
the M1917 Brownings were modified and 
given new designations, M1917A1 (water- 
cooled) and M1919A4 (air-cooled). The 
one outstanding machine gun develop- 
ment of these years was the redesign of the 
.50-caliber Browning machine gun so that 
it could be quickly converted to serve as 
tank, aircraft, or antiaircraft weapon. The 
heavy barrel of the tank gun, the water- 
jacket barrel of the AA gun, or the lighter 

parts of the aircraft gun could be attached 
in a matter of minutes without modifica- 
tion of the basic receiver. This simplified 
design, adopted in 1933, eased manufac- 
ture, maintenance, and troop training 
throughout the war. 80 

Of the commercial gunmaking firms in 
the United States, only Colt retained ac- 
tive interest in machine guns during the 
interwar years. Under contract with Ord- 
nance, it made production studies on 

80 (1) Chirm, The Machine Gun, vol. I, pt. IV; 
(a) Green, Thomson, and Roots, Planning Mu- 
nitions for War, |p. 178! (3),PP 36, U.S. Machine 
Guns, Calibers .30 and .50, Development, Re- 
quirements and Production 1940-45, Jul 45, pp. 
37~3 8 ; (4) PSP 36. The latter, a 268-page typed 
study, is the best single source for machine gun 
production data. 



Browning guns, both .30-caliber and .50- 
caliber, and contributed to the preparation 
of descriptions of manufacture. In 1939 
Rock Island installed a production line 
capable of turning out .30-caliber machine 
guns at the rate of twenty five per day, 81 
and Ordnance placed production orders 
with the Savage Arms Company of Utica, 
N.Y., and with four divisions of General 
Motors — Saginaw Steering, Frigidaire, AC 
Spark Plug, and Brown-Lipe-Chapin. The 
British placed contracts with Colt and 
three other firms to make machine guns 
for planes and tanks being built in the 
United States for the British Army, and to 
all these firms Ordnance released its 
latest designs. Thus, total machine gun 
production capacity created during the de- 
fense period for the U.S. Army and its 
allies was considerable. By Pearl Harbor, 
Ordnance had contracted for annual pro- 
duction of some 430,000 .30-caliber and 
300,000 .50-caliber guns, and ten plants, 
including Rock Island, were in production, 
supported by scores of subcontractors. 

When President Roosevelt announced 
his "must" program in January 1942, he 
called for the production of 500,000 ma- 
chine guns each year for the next two 
years. The War Munitions Program of 
February 1942 put total requirements at 
1,302,000 for 1942-43 and the first half 
of 1944. To meet the demand for aircraft 
guns Ordnance found itself well prepared; 
it was able to report in February 1942 
that output of caliber .50's was running 
well ahead of plane production, so far 
ahead, in fact, that caliber .50's were be- 
ing mounted on 37-mm. AA carriages as 
additional weapons. General Wesson had 
told his staff earlier: "Forget everything 
else, but be sure you have a gun on every 
plane that comes out of this country; I 
don't care where it goes, I want a gun for 

it." 82 For ground machine guns, capacity 
was below requirements early in 1942 but 
tank objectives dropped during the year, 
bringing a corresponding drop in ground 
machine gun requirements. 83 By the 
end of the year production of all types, 
both air and ground, totaled 662,331, just 
enough to meet requirements. The most 
sharply denned trend was the shift from 
the small .30-caliber to the powerful .50- 
caliber aircraft machine gun with armor- 
pier cing, incendiary ammunition. (Table 

16) Hidden within these over-all figures 
were many stops and starts as require- 
ments were cut and factories shut down 
at one point only to be followed by an 
emergency demand for new production a 
few months later. 

The .50-caliber aircraft gun program 
reached its peak during early 1944 when 
production capacity rose to 45,000 per 
month, just enough to meet the Army 
Supply Program requirement of 540,000 
for the year. 84 With 1945 requirements set 
at 747,000 guns, Ordnance planned to 
build two additional plants, but dropped 
the matter during the second half of the 
year when requirements were cut and sur- 
plus machine guns piled up in Field Serv- 
ice warehouses. The contract with the 
Buffalo Arms Corporation, a high-cost 

81 Hist, Rock Island Arsenal, I (1918-39), 

83 Review of Prod Plans for SA Div, 20 Feb 
42, p. 20 

83 (1) Memo, USW for Glancy, 4 May 42; (2) 
Memo, ASF Prod Br for USW, 9 May 42, sub: 
Caliber .50 AA Machine Guns and Mounts; (3) 
Memo, Maj Gen Campbell for Glancy, 9 May 42, 
sub: Caliber .50 AA Guns and Mounts. All in 
ASF Prod Div 472.93 AA Guns, Job 19B, G1867: 
(4) PSP 36, pp. 93-97. 

84 Memo, CofOrd for ASF Prod Div, 10 Jan 
44, sub: Capacity for Prod . . . , ASF Prod Div, 
472.91 Aircraft Guns. 


Table 16 — Machine Gun Production, 1940-1945 








6 1945 

.50-cal. (all types).. 







.30-cal. (all types) 







a Covers only period from 1 July through 31 December 1940. 
^ Covers only period from 1 January through 31 August 1945. 

Source: Whiting, Statistics, Table PR-8. 

producer in a tight labor area, was term- 
inated early in 1945, and Kelsey-Hayes 
was put in a standby status. 

Production engineers worked miracles in 
simplifying processes, saving material, and 
speeding production of machine guns. 
Rifling broaches more than cut in half the 
time required for rifling barrels. Pearlitic 
malleable iron castings, known as Arma 
steel, not only saved scarce steel alloys but 
proved superior to the steel or bronze 
originally used for certain machine gun 
parts. Substitution of castings, stampings, 
or a combination of stamped and riveted 
parts for completely machined parts saved 
countless man-hours and machine-tool- 
hours, and resulted in lower costs. There 
were problems, too, that had to be ironed 
out through the Machine Gun Industry 
Integration Committee. Some problems 
stemmed from the fact that commercial 
machine gun production had been on a 
small scale during the preceding two dec- 
ades, and had been limited to one manu- 
facturer. Colt's small peacetime orders had 
not warranted extensive application of 
mass-production techniques. Tolerances, 
specifications, and inspection rules had not 
been worked out in sufficient detail to 
guide numerous producers unfamiliar with 
gunmaking, nor were the rules always 
applied in the same way. The General 
Motors plants, for example, complained 
that inspectors were rejecting parts for 

exceeding tolerances on the drawings al- 
though the parts were identical with those 
taken from sample guns made by Colt. 
Tripods were the chief bottleneck in 1941 
and could be turned out in adequate 
quantities only by adopting less compli- 
cated designs. 85 An Army inspecting offi- 
cer reported in April 1943 that, although 
production to date had been "extremely 
satisfactory," some of the older plants 
clung to outmoded methods, resisted 
change, and were generally less efficient 
than the newcomers. 86 But, all things 
considered, machine gun production was 
one of the most successful features of the 
whole Ordnance program. 

Submachine Guns 

In June 1 942 Ordnance placed an order 
for a new type of Thompson submachine 
gun, the M2, with the Marlin Firearms 
Company of New Haven, Conn.; but, be- 
fore production started, the M3 supplanted 

8!i These matters appear frequently in Gen. 
Wesson's conference in 1941 and PSP 36, pp. 
i58fF. See also (1) Armament section of American 
Machinist, vol. 85, (July 23, 1941); (2) Memo, 
Maj Gen Campbell for Glancy, 9 May 4a, sub: 
Cal. .50 AA Gun and Mounts, ASF Prod Div 
473.93 AA Guns, Job I9B, G1867. 

8(i Ltr, Lt Col Jack G. Allen to TIG, 12 Apr 43, 
sub: Study of . . . Machine Gun Proc, ASF 
Prod Div 472 — Guns. 



the M2. 87 Built along the lines of the 
British Sten and the German Schmeisser, 
the new gun had been designed by the 
Inland Division of General Motors. As all 
Inland's capacity was committed to pro- 
duction of the carbine, a contract for the 
M3 went to another General Motors di- 
vision, Guide Lamp, with Buffalo Arms 
Corporation making the bolt. 

The M3, nicknamed the "grease gun" 
for its resemblance to the tool used for 
lubricating automobiles, weighed less than 
a Garand, yet it could fire 45-caliber 
pistol ammunition at a rate of four hun- 
dred shots per minute and could be pro- 
duced for as little as $20. It was of the 
type known in Europe as "machine 
pistols." With its folding stock and barrel 
removed for packing it was small enough 
to fit into a briefcase. In contrast to the 
precision-made Thompson the M3 was de- 
signed for cheap mass production with 
unskilled labor, making full use of stamped 
metal parts and other short cuts. But it 
did not escape manufacturing problems. 
There were so many manufacturing prob- 
lems, in fact, that, for lack of M3's, man- 
ufacture of Mi's had to be continued into 
February 1944 instead of stopping' as 
planned in the fall of 1943. All told, some 
621,000 M3's were produced as compared 
to roughly twice that number of Thomp- 
sons and M 1 's combined. 88 

In making M3's, Guide Lamp adopted 
an entirely new process for rifling the 
barrel, using neither the traditional hooked 
cutter that required an experienced opera- 
tor nor the more or less automatic broach- 
ing machine. Instead, it inserted in each 
barrel a mandrel that had the rifling lands 
and grooves cut on its outside surface in 
reverse. A powerful hydraulic press then 
forced the barrel through a ring die, 
squeezing it forcibly against the hard steel 

mandrel and thus imprinting the rifling on 
the inside of the barrel. The barrel's 
tight grip on the mandrel was then loosened 
by an ingenious centerless rolling machine 
that stretched the metal slightly. The 
whole sequence of press work, rolling, and 
mandrel removal could be performed by 
three girls, and each mandrel, made of 
special nondeforming steel, lasted for 
thousands of barrels. 88 

The Bazooka Rocket Launcher 

Most impressive small arms development 
of the year was the 'bazooka' — a rocket- 
launching device operated by two men. 
Armed with this weapon, the individual foot 
soldier possessed, for the first time, the 
means whereby he could, single-handedly, do 
battle with a tank. 

So wrote the Chief of Ordnance in his 
annual report for the fiscal year 1943. 
After a century of neglect the rocket had 
again come into its own as a weapon of 
war, and the United States, though slower 
than other countries to take it up, made 
rapid strides after Pearl Harbor. 90 

In its original form the bazooka was one 
of the simplest pieces of equipment ever 
produced by Ordnance. It consisted essen- 
tially of a 54-inch steel tube of 2.36-inch 
inside diameter, open at both ends, 
equipped with two hand grips, a trigger, 
and simple sights. When Ordnance first 

87 The M3 was standardized by OCM 19401, 
23 December 1942. For research and develop- 
ment, see Red of Army Ord Research and 
Development, vol. 2, bk. 1. 

88 (1) PSP 40; (2) Whiting, Statistics, PR-8. 
80 "Novel Methods Speed Manufacture of M3 

Submachine Gun," American Machinist, vol. 88, 
Armament Section (May 11, 1944). 

80 Green, Th omson, and R oots, Planning Mri' 
nitions for frKar Jpp. 328-30.! See also PP 79, The 
Bazooka, OH F. Production of rockets is treated in 
|Chapter VIJ above. 



asked General Electric to manufacture ba- 
zookas it allowed the company only thirty 
days for delivery of 5,000. GE had to spend 
nearly half the allowed time in making 
working models for test by Ordnance; 
not until the fourteenth model was tested 
did Ordnance give its approval. Then GE 
threw all its resources into assembling ma- 
terials and setting up a makeshift produc- 
tion line. Skilled workmen were borrowed 
from many departments; office workers 
with technical skills went to work on 
production lines; executives and foremen 
lugged materials and lent a hand when- 
ever needed. According to the company's 
historical report, the 30-day deadline was 
met with eighty-nine minutes to spare. 91 

The bazooka was such an immediate 
success that Ordnance asked General 
Electric to produce some sixty thousand 
more in 1942, nearly one hundred thou- 
sand in 1943, and two hundred thousand 
in 1944. Battlefield reports dictated a 
number of design changes, starting with 
deflectors to protect the gunner against 
backblast of slow-burning rockets in cold- 
weather. This was followed by wrapping 
the rear section of the barrel with piano 
wire to reinforce it against detonation of 
rocket motors within the launcher, sub- 
stituting a generator for batteries in the 
firing mechanism, eliminating the forward 
hand grip, and, in the fall of 1943, the 
most radical change of all, the take-apart 
launcher M9. Each design change posed its 
own problems, but, as the bazooka en- 
joyed a high priority, nothing was allowed 
to stand in its way for very long. In fact, 
production schedules were met more con- 
sistently on the bazooka than on any other 
item of small arms manufacture. Perhaps 
the worst failure was that of the Magna- 
vox Company to produce the complicated 
firing device on schedule. 92 

Officer Candidates at Fontaine- 
bleau, France, learning to fire the 2.36- 
inch bazooka. 

General Electric's Bridgeport works, 
though making use of more than one 
hundred subcontractors, carried the pro- 
duction load almost single-handedly for the 
first two years, despite objections by the 

91 "Development and Production of Rocket 
Launchers" by the General Electric Co., a con- 
tractor's report in Hist, Springfield Ord Dist, vol. 
100, pt. r, pp. 13-14. Project Paper No. 79, The 
Bazooka, OHF, concludes its coverage of this in- 
cident by stating that GE met the deadline with 
79 minutes to spare! See also John Anderson 
Miller, Mtn and Volts at War (New York: 
McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1947), pp. tos-og. 

9 2 Hist, Springfield Ord Dist, vol. 100, pt. 1, 
p. 4. 



Smaller War Plants Corporation that the 
work should be shared with small business. 
In June 1944, when requirements were 
boosted, a contract for part of the require- 
ment was placed with a small concern, the 
Cheney Bigelow Wire Works of Spring- 
Held, Mass. The Springfield Ordnance 
District was at first skeptical of the com- 
pany's ability to meet production sched- 
ules, but during the winter of 1944-45 
Cheney Bigelow turned in an excellent rec- 
ord of production on the MgAi launcher. 
Further orders were canceled in May 1945 
at both GE and Cheney Bigelow, though 
GE continued until the Japanese surren- 
der to work on an experimental order for 
five hundred aluminum launchers. Cheney 
Bigelow had produced some forty thou- 
sand, and GE nearly four hundred and 
fifty thousand. 83 

Recoilless Rifles 

Though the basic idea of the recoilless 
rifle, which ranks with the bazooka as one 
of the most impressive ordnance develop- 
ments of World War II, was perhaps a 
century old, its practical application 
came only in the 1940's under the forced 
draft of war research. The 57-mm. recoil- 
less rifle put artillery fire power in the 
hands of the individual foot soldier, for it 
required no ponderous carriage or recoil 
mechanism. It was, in fact, an altogether 
new type of weapon for the infantry's 
arsenal. Developed by the Small Arms Di- 
vision of the Ordnance Research and 
Development Service, and light enough to 
be fired from the shoulder, it was usually 
classed as a small arms weapon, though it 
fired artillery-type explosive shells. The 
larger 75-mm. rifle was more nearly an 
artillery piece. Whatever their classifica- 
tion, they were outstanding new weapons; 

only their late arrival in the last months of 
the war robbed them of honors they might 
otherwise have won. 94 

After demonstration of 57-mm. and 75- 
mm. recoilless rifles at Aberdeen in Sep- 
tember 1944 for the Secretary of War and 
high-ranking officers of both War and 
Navy Departments, orders for one thou- 
sand of each were placed with industry. 
The guns were tentatively named "Kro- 
muskits" in honor of the two Frankford 
Arsenal inventors, William J. Kroeger and 
C. Walton Musser, but the name did not 
stick. Final design work was completed in 
conferences attended by representatives of 
both the small arms designers and artillery 
production engineers. As the Ordnance dis- 
tricts reported that no U.S. facilities to 
manufacture the 57-mm. weapon were 
available, a contract went through the De- 
troit district to the Dominion Engineering 
Works in Canada. An order for the 75's 
went to the Miller Printing Machinery 
Company of Pittsburgh, Pa., and by 
March, 1945, production was under way 
without serious difficulties. Approximately 
one hundred recoilless rifles reached the 
European theater in mid-March 1945, 
about six weeks before Germany surren- 
dered, and proved effective. Others went 
into action on Okinawa in May and June 
with spectacularly successful results. Before 
production stopped at the end of the sum- 

!,: ' Ibid. This reference includes an account by 
the Springfield District, another by GE, and a 
third by Cheney Bigelow. 

u * (1) Green, Thomson, and Roots, Planning 
Munitions for War, |pp. 3^0-3 1[ (2) OCM 
52989, 24 Feb 44, copy in FSF 78, 57-mm. Rifles 
T15E . . . , OHF; (3) Red of Army Ord Re- 
search and Development, vol. 2, bk. 3, Special 
Weapons, OHF; {4) Elizabeth C. O'Neill, Frank- 
ford Arsenal Doctrine, Recoilless Rifle — Develop- 
ment, Nov 55, OHF. 


Loading a 57-mm. Recoilless Rifle on Okinawa, June 1945. 

for a time. Pistols were not a high-priority 
item and were in short supply during the 
whole war, their production suffering from 
run-of-the-mill obstacles such as low prior- 
ities and fluctuating requirements. 

The experience of Remington-Rand il- 
lustrates the problem. The company took 
over a vacant plant and bent every effort 
during 1942 and 1943 to train new work- 
ers, acquire needed tools, and build up 
production. Just as its production line was 
shifting into high gear at the end of 1943 
the company's order was slashed. After 
-workers had been laid off and production 
virtually halted, the company received an 
urgent request from Ordnance in the 

95 Prod reds in OCO Ind Div. See also PSP 78; 
Red of Army Ord Research and Development, 
vol. a, bk. 3, Spec Weapons, OHF; and Col. 
Rene R. Studler, "They Give Field-Artillery 
Firepower to the Infantry," Army Ordnance, 
XXIX, No. 152 (September-October 1945), 232 

mer, 1,238 75's and 951 57's had been 
accepted. 95 

Miscellaneous Items 

Under the small arms heading fell a 
number of miscellaneous items such as 
pistols, revolvers, bayonets, trench knives, 
helmets, and body armor. None was of 
great importance in the over-all procure- 
ment picture but, taken together, they 
rounded out the essential equipment of 
combat troops. Prominent among these 
minor items were .45-caliber pistols and 
.38-caliber revolvers. Pistols were made at 
first only by Colt but in 1942 three other 
producers were added — Remington-Rand, 
Union Switch and Signal, and the Ithaca 
Gun Company. As Springfield Armory and 
the High Standard Manufacturing Com- 
pany had the needed capacity for making 
pistol barrels, they supplied the pistol con- 
tractors, as did the Flannery Bolt Company 



spring of 1944 to restore and even increase 
its former rate of production. Ordnance 
was keenly aware of the fact that such 
starting and stopping of production was 
most uneconomical, but was forced into it 
by fluctuating requirements. Adoption of 
the carbine brought some reduction in 
over-all pistol requirements, but the de- 
mand for pistols nevertheless remained 
strong throughout 1944. Almost two mil- 
lion pistols were produced during the war, 
plus 889,000 .38-caliber revolvers, most of 
the latter by Smith and Wesson, Inc. 96 

Among small arms items, not including 
ammunition, steel helmets chalked up a 
record for quantity production, with more 
than twenty two million delivered before 
V-J Day. In 1940 the first contract with 
the McCord Radiator and Manufacturing 
Company of Detroit called for production 
of the famous World War I tin hat whose 
shallow pan-shaped design made it a 
comparatively simple item to produce. But 
soon a deeper model that gave more pro- 
tection to the sides and rear of the head 
was adopted in 1941 after some 900,000 of 
the 191 7 models had been produced. The 
switch to a new design held up production 
at a critical time and brought upon Ord- 
nance a fair share of criticism, but Mc- 
Cord eventually solved the problem of 
mass-producing M 1 helmets of tough Had- 
field manganese steel. After turning out 
only 324,000 in 1940-41, McCord de- 
livered five million in 1942. Meantime 
special flyer's helmets were standardized 
and nearly 400,000 were produced during 
the 1943-45 period. Protective vests, ap- 
rons, and groin armor for flyers also went 
into quantity production during the last 
two years of the war as experience showed 
that air crews needed protection against 
low velocity shell fragments and, unlike 
ground troops, could afford to sacrifice 

freedom of body movement for protec- 
tion. 97 

Before the termination telegrams went 
out in August 1945, Ordnance had ac- 
cepted some 21,000,000 rifles, machine 
guns, and other small arms to equip the 
U.S. and Allied armies, navies, and air 
forces. Although dwarfed by expenditures 
for artillery and artillery ammunition, the 
$2 billion small arms program nevertheless 
loomed large in comparison with the pro- 
curement activities of other technical serv- 
ices. From January 1942 to the end of 
1945, the dollar value of small arms de- 
liveries exceeded the dollar value of all 
procurement by either the Transportation 
Corps or Chemical Warfare Service, and 
was more than double that of the Medical 
Department. It amounted to about half 
the dollar value of all Signal Corps pro- 
curement; and a little less than half the 
value of all Corps of Engineer procure- 

Far more important than quantity, in 
the eyes of Ordnance small arms special- 
ists, was the quality of the weapons sup- 
plied to fighting troops. Ordnance drew 
considerable satisfaction from battle re- 

9(1 There were two studies of this subject in 
OHF, both labeled PSP 39. One is entitled PSP 
Relating to Pistol, Automatic, Caliber .45, 
M1911A1, 1917 through August 1945, compiled 
by Annie J. Gregg and reviewed by John P. 
Aitchison (31 January 1947). The other is en- 
titled Hand Weapons Development, Production 
and Procurement of Miscellaneous Pistols and 
Revolvers in World War II (August 1 94 r i ) . 
written by Walter W. Sanborn and reviewed by 
Maj. H. P. Smith. See also Hist, Rochester Ord 
Dist, vol. 1 00, pt. 11. 

u7 (1) Whiting, Statistics; (2) Daniel L. Wells, 
The Story of the New American Helmet (un- 
dated brochure in Hist, Detroit Ord Dist, vol. 
105] ; (3) Maj Berkeley R. Lewis, Small Arms 
and Small Arms Ammunition, pp. 76-77. See also 
Green, Thomson, an d Roots, Planning Munitions 
for War \ pp. 3 79-80 J 



ports testifying that the U.S. Army's small 
arms were among the best in the world. 
The Garand rifle was generally regarded 
as the best infantry rifle of World War II, 
suffering only from complaints of slow 
production, not poor quality. The carbine 
was enthusiastically received and met 
criticism only when it was expected to 
reach long range or otherwise do what it 
was not designed to do. Browning machine 
guns earned world-wide fame. The .50- 
caliber aircraft gun was outstanding in 
aerial combat where its unfailing perform- 
ance under, extremes of heat and cold 
contributed notably to Allied victories in 
the air. Of wholly new developments the 
bazooka carried off the honors, followed 
later by the light recoilless rifle, and for- 
tunately neither posed serious manufactur- 
ing problems. 

But the picture was not all roseate, 
either from the design or the production 
viewpoint. There were no miracles associ- 
ated with small arms procurement, in spite 
of the exuberant claims of public relations 
experts. Production of small arms was an 
exacting task that demanded essentially 

the same qualities as any other form of 
precision metal work — good machine tools, 
trained workers, efficient management, a 
steady flow of materials, and constant in- 
spection to keep quality both high and 
uniform. As indicated in the preceding 
pages, wartime production of small arms, 
and all other types of ordnance, was 
frequently held up by lack of one or an- 
other of these elements. In dealing with 
such problems the nation was fortunate in 
having some production potential at the 
outbreak of war with a thriving civilian 
small arms industry and two government 
installations, Springfield and Rock Island. 
Though far less modern than they might 
have been, Springfield and Rock Island 
served both as producing plants and as 
centers of technical ordnance knowledge. 
It seems only fair to say that without them 
the conversion of industry from peace to 
war production would have been more dif- 
ficult than it was and the eventual pro- 
duction of some two and a half million 
machine guns, six million carbines, and 
over six and a half million rifles would 
have taken much more time. 


Small Arms Ammunition 

Rounds of small arms ammunition were 
produced during World War II in greater 
numbers than any other item of Army 
supply. Whereas most Ordnance materiel 
was counted in the thousands or millions, 
small arms ammunition was numbered in 
the billions of rounds, total production for 
the 1940-45 period amounting to more 
than forty-one billion. Some measure of the 
magnitude of small arms ammunition pro- 
duction may be gained by comparing it 
with total wartime production of artillery 
ammunition (excluding bombs, grenades, 
and mines) of one billion rounds, or with 
procurement of high-volume Quarter- 
master items such as men's socks, about 
half a billion pairs, or shoes, about 
145,000,000 pairs. If fired at the rate of 
twenty rounds per minute, night and day, 
year after year, the small arms ammunition 
procured by Ordnance in World War II 
would have laste d for almost forty cen- 
turies. (Table ij) 

The huge quantities of ammunition re- 
quired for World War II dramatically re- 
flected the impact on warfare of rapid- 
firing weapons. In the days of the 
American Revolution the firing of muskets 
was a slow process, each shot requiring 
the hand loading of both powder and ball. 1 
A century later, after breech loaders had 
replaced muzzle loaders, the rate of fire 
increased somewhat, but it was not until 
late in the nineteenth century that the 

mechanical marvel known as the machine 
gun boosted the rate of fire a hundred- 
fold. 2 Soon developed to the point where it 
could fire hundreds of shots in one 
minute, the new gun's appetite for am- 
munition was virtually insatiable. During 
World War II the trend toward faster- 
firing weapons continued, including all 
types and sizes but advancing most among 
the smaller calibers. Armed with the semi- 
automatic .30-caliber rifle Mi, a U.S. 
infantryman could easily fire an 8-round 
clip in half a minute. With the semiauto- 
matic carbine a 15-round clip could be 
fired with similar speed while the fully 
automatic carbine — adopted in 1944 and 
equipped with a 30-round magazine — 
could be fired even more rapidly. Stand- 
ard machine guns using .30-caliber and 
.50-caIiber ammunition, and submachine 
guns of .45-caliber, could fire at rates 
ranging from 400 to 1,200 rounds per 
minute. Armed with such weapons a single 
infantry platoon or individual bombing 
plane in World War II possessed as much 

1 Using the "Brown Bess" flintlock, an expert 
could load and fire five shots a minute under 
ideal conditions, but the average for combat was 
much less. James R. Jacobs, The Beginning of the 
U.S. Army iy83-i8i2 (Princeton, N.J.: Prince- 
ton University Press, 1947), p. 7. 

- Mechanically powered guns of the Gatling 
type had appeared as early as the Civil War, but 
the truly automatic machine gun did not appear 
until the 1880's. 



Table 17 — Small Arms Ammunition Production, 1940-1945 

[In Rounds] 



Caliber .60 

Caliber .50 

Caliber .45 

Caliber .38 

Caliber 9-mm,..;.. 

Caliber 7.92-mm 

Caliber .303 

Caliber .30 


MOO, 000 

South: Whiting, Statistics, p. 51. 

small arms firepower as an entire infantry 
division of the Civil War era. 

The huge volume of small arms am- 
munition procurement must not be inter- 
preted as meaning that it exceeded artillery 
ammunition procurement in either size or 
complexity. There were only twelve gov- 
ernment-owned, contractor-operated small 
arms ammunition plants as compared to 
more than sixty artillery ammunition plants 
and works. The dollar value of small arms 
ammunition was about one-fourth that of 
artillery ammunition. The difference in 
tonnage is suggested by the fact that a 
round of .30-caliber ball ammunition 
weighed only a few ounces while a 105- 
mm. howitzer round weighed about forty 
pounds. Compared to the twenty different 
calibers of artillery ammunition there were 
only three important sizes of small arms 
ammunition — .30-caliber, .45-caliber, and 
.50-caliber — and there were only five main 
small arms types — ball, armor-piercing 
(AP), armor-piercing-incendiary (AP- 
I), incendiary, and tracer. 3 The manu- 
facture of the smaller ammunition was not 
only simpler but easier, for it did not 

involve the production of fuzes or the 
manufacture and loading of high explos- 
ives. (See Table ij.) 

The mass production of high quality 
small arms ammunition was nevertheless 
an exacting process. Each round had to 
meet rigid specifications, particularly if it 
was to be used in aircraft machine guns. 
A defective round could usually be cleared 
from a ground machine gun without great 
difficulty, but fixed aircraft guns mounted 
in the wings could not be serviced while 
the plane was in the air. A slight imperfec- 
tion in one cartridge might put the gun 
out of action at a critical moment and 
cause loss of both crew and plane. The 
Ordnance objective was to produce am- 
munition that could be fired round after 
round for billions of rounds, whether in 
tropic heat or arctic cold, in desert sand 

3 There were many other sizes, including .22- 
caliber, 6o-caIiber, and 7.92-mm. (for China), 
and many other types such as armor-picrcing- 
incendiary-tracer, blanks, guard, dummy, and the 
so-called headlight tracer, but they were not pro- 
duced in great quantities. All the main types are 
listed in Table 1 7. 



or steaming jungle, without malfunctions 
and without significant deviations in per- 

Dwindling Reserves 

Of the large reserve of ammunition held 
by the United States in 19 19, a small 
portion was used in training each year 
during the 1920's and 1930's, and the 
remaining rounds gradually deteriorated 
in storage. There was some new production 
by Frankford Arsenal, but the quantities 
were small, and by the spring of 1940 the 
national stockpile was only about half 
what it had been twenty years before. 
Reserves of .30-caliber, which far exceeded 
all other calibers in volume, dropped from 
about one billion rounds in 19 19 to a 
little over half a billion early in 1940.* This 
long, slow process of attrition was one 
cause of the shortage of small arms am- 
munition that developed with the ap- 
proach of war in 1940-41. Reserves were 
further depleted in the summer of 1940 by 
shipment of rifle ammunition to the hard- 
pressed British forces. 

The transfer of 138,000,000 rounds of 
.30-caliber ammunition to the British after 
Dunkerque took a big slice — nearly 25 per- 
cent — from the existing United States 
stock, A later shipment brought the total 
for British aid up to 188,000,000 rounds 
before passage of the Lend-Lease Act in 
March 1941. The first shipment was paid 
for through the U.S. Steel Export Com- 
pany on a "cash-and-carry" basis; for 
the second shipment the British agreed to 
release fifty million rounds of new am- 
munition from their Remington contract to 
replace the old ammunition received from 
the United States. 5 But, regardless of the 
method of reimbursement, transfer of this 
materiel seriously weakened the Ord- 

nance position. Just at the moment that 
demand for ammunition was rising — for 
troop training and equipping defense forces 
— Ordnance saw its reserves suddenly cut 
by from 25 to 30 percent. Pressure for 
increased production became intense dur- 
ing 1 94 1, and Ordnance was subjected to 
frequent criticism for not having more 
ammunition on hand and for not produc- 
ing new ammunition fast enough. Even 
without aid to Britain there would have 
been a shortage of rifle ammunition in the 
winter of 1940-41, but it was most dis- 
heartening for Ordnance officers to find in 
the fall of 1940 that, after two decades 
devoted to husbanding their reserves and 
planning for an emergency, they were short 
of the very types of ammunition most 
needed, and some of them tended to place 
more than the proper share of blame on 
aid to Britain. 6 

More important than apportionment of 
blame for the crisis was the action taken 
to meet it. Frankford Arsenal quickly 
stepped up its production but could not 
hope to keep pace with the mounting 
needs of the armed forces. Ground was 
therefore broken in the fall of 1940 for 
three large new government-owned am- 
munition plants with capacities running 

4 The exact figure as of 3 i December 1939 was 
588,411,466 rounds, valued at $16,951,466. Rpt 
on Ammo Stocks prepared by FS, Incl to Memo 
of F. W. F. Gleason for Olejar, 14 Jan 44, sub: 
Requested Report on Ammunition Stocks, OO 
38 1. 4/ 1 889, copy in OHF. 

3 The details of this operation may be found in 
the monograph, How the Ordnance Department 
Aided Britain After Dunkirk, by Capt. Paul D. 
Olejar, i Jun 44, OHF. 

11 The whole subject of foreign aid during 1940- 
41 is discussed in Green, Thomson, and Roots, 
Planning Munitions for War, ICJhapter 1111 For 
discussion of this topic from a higher level of 
authority, see Watson, Chief of Staff, Pages 312- 
14, and Leighton and Coakley, Global Logistics 
and Strategy, Chapter I. 



into the millions of rounds per day. But 
bringing new plants into production was a 
time-consuming operation. No amount of 
emergency action could banish the ammu- 
nition shortage overnight, and the lack of 
small arms ammunition hung like a cloud 
over the Ordnance program for the next 
year and a half. 

Prewar Plans and Operations 

During the 1930's Frankford was the 
only plant in the United States producing 
military small arms ammunition. Several 
commercial firms made sporting ammuni- 
tion — Remington, Western, and Winches- 
ter were the best known — but the differ- 
ence between sporting and military am- 
munition was great, comparable to the 
difference "between a taxicab and a tank," 
in the words of one observer. 7 Incendiary, 
tracer, and armor-piercing ammunition, to 
name three outstanding examples, pre- 
sented production problems that had no 
counterpart in peacetime manufacture of 
cartridges to be used by hunters, farmers, 
or policemen. Private companies received 
no contracts during the 1930's for military 
ammunition because they could not under- 
bid Frankford, and the Army was for- 
bidden by law to purchase from industry 
unless the price was less than the cost of 
arsenal-produced ammunition. But by 
1936 two facts had become apparent to 
Army planners: ( 1 ) a major war would re- 
quire, in addition to Frankford's produc- 
tion, large-scale manufacture by commer- 
cial arms makers in existing plants, and 
(2) this production would have to be 
supplemented by a new government-owned 
ammunition plant in the midwest operated 
for the government by a leading industrial 
firm. In 1936 and 1937 Ordnance repre- 
sentatives conferred frequently with offi- 

cials of the Remington Arms Company 
with a view to having Remington expand 
its capacity in time of emergency and also 
take over operation of a proposed new gov- 
ernment plant. Following these discussions 
a formal statement of the plan drawn up 
by Frankford Arsenal was concurred in by 
Mr. C. K. Davis, president of Remington, 
in 1938. 8 

At the same time, after nearly twenty 
years of starvation rations, Frankford re- 
ceived $5 million for the purchase of new 
machinery and equipment of all sorts, part 
of an Ordnance-wide move to modernize 
all the arsenals. Navy orders and federal 
work relief projects helped supplement the 
regular appropriations. In 1939 Frankford 
obtained additional funds to expand its 
facilities for powder storage and .30- and 
.45-caliber production, and to build a 
complete new .50-caIiber manufacturing 
section. The arsenal also purchased 
$800,000 worth of specialized production 
machinery known as War Reserve Equip- 
ment, and stored it for emergency use by 
the Remington Arms Company and West- 
ern Cartridge Company. 9 Arsenal personnel 
drew up plans for speeding production in 
the event of war, including model plant 
layouts, descriptions of manufacture, esti- 

7 In Abundance and On Time, p. 11. This 
little booklet, published by Remington Arms 
Company, Inc., records that company's contribu- 
tion to the wartime production of small arms 
ammunition. See also History, Frankford Arsenal, 
Volume I, Part 1, Pages 34-35, and remarks by 
Brig. Gen. Kirk on the 1945 small arms ammuni- 
tion program, 10 January 1945, OHF. 

8 The planners envisaged a manufacturing unit 
capable of producing in 24 hours the following 
quantities: 1,000,000 .30-caliber ball, 200,000- 
500,000 .30-caliber tracer and AP, and 300,000 
.50-caliber (80 percent ball ztnd AP and 20 per- 
cent tracer). SAA, I, p. 69. 

* SAA, I, p. 49 and pp. 70-71. See also com- 
ments on draft of this chapter by Maj Gen James 
Kirk (Ret.), 6 Apr 57, OHF. 



mates of personnel needs, lists of tools and 
machinery requirements, and data on 
commercial sources of raw materials. To 
prepare industry for its role in an emer- 
gency, Frankford placed twelve orders for 
small arms ammunition under the Edu- 
cational Orders Act in fiscal years 1940 
and 1941. Ten of these went to the Rem- 
ington Arms Company for .30-caliber 
tracer, .30-caliber AP, .45-caliber ball, 
.50-caliber tracer, and .50-caliber AP. 
The remaining two orders went to the 
Western Cartridge Company for .30- 
caliber ball and .45-caliber ball. Frankford 
made exhaustive tests on all ammunition 
these companies produced to determine its 
conformity to drawings and specifications. 
The quantities in the early orders were 
small, seven contracts totaling only twenty- 
five million rounds, but in 1941 the three 
largest orders totaled nearly three hundred 
million rounds. The primary purpose of 
educational orders, of course, was not 
production but education for industry; 
nevertheless, after the transfer to Britain of 
over one-fourth the U.S. stockpile of small 
arms ammunition in the summer of 1940, 
production became more and more im- 
portant. 10 

Allied with educational orders for com- 
plete rounds of ammunition were procure- 
ment orders placed with machine-tool 
builders in 1939 and 1940. Orders for 
machinery that had been developed and 
tested at Frankford were placed not only 
with the old line companies such as 
Waterbury-Farrel and E. W. Bliss but with 
many others who thus gained experience 
in building small arms ammunition ma- 
chinery. 11 A most significant result of these 
steps was the eventual standardization of 
all American ammunition makers on 
Frankford Arsenal machinery, and the 
adoption of this machinery by Great 

Britain in 1 940. This standardization made 
possible the pooling of machines and the 
transfer of equipment and spare parts from 
one plant to another to meet any emer- 
gency. 12 

Although not for educational purposes, 
the orders placed by other countries with 
U.S. firms played an important part in 
preparing American industry for war pro- 
duction. Beginning in 1939, small pur- 
chases of military cartridges were made of 
the Remington Arms Company by China, 
followed at the end of the year by Britain 
and France, and by Finland in 1940. The 
British orders, constituting the bulk of all 
foreign purchases after the fall of France, 
called for both American and British cali- 
bers — including .30- and .50-caliber cart- 
ridges for aircraft machine guns, .303- 
caliber rounds for rifles and machine guns, 
.45-caliber ball ammunition for Thompson 
submachine guns, and g-mm. parabellum 
cartridges for British Sten submachine 
guns. As U.S. plants did not have capacity 
for such production, the British govern- 
ment had to supply machinery and capital 
for expansion to the Winchester plant in 
New Haven, Connecticut, and the Rem- 
ington plant in Bridgeport, Connecticut. 
In addition, Britain financed the building 
of three new facilities for making small 
arms powder and one for making armor- 
piercing cores. These measures, in the 
opinion of Ordnance small arms ammuni- 
tion specialists, were ultimately of value 

10 SAA, I, pp. 62-63. See also Hist, Frankford 
Arsenal, I, pt. I, pp. 1-5. 

1 1 The Waterbury-Farrel Foundry and Machine 
Company was located in Waterbury, Conn., and 
the E. W. Bliss Company in Brooklyn, N.Y. SAA, 
I, pp. 315-16 lists all the production machinery 
venders who supplied Ordnance in World War II, 

12 For details on machinery procurement. ?ee 
SAA, I, pp. 20ofF, and Hist, Frankford Arsenal, 
I, pt. I, pp. 35-36. 

Table 18 — Estimated Yearly Capacity of Frankford Arsenal 

Year « 

Rounds of 

Rounds of 

Round9 of 










a All figures as of 30 June of the year specified. They represent estimated capacity, not actual production. 
Source SAA, I, p, 48. See also Hist, Frankford Arsenal, SA Div, I, pt. 1, p. 23. 

to the U.S. war effort because they enabled 
American producers to expand facilities, 
buy new machinery, train workers, and 
make arrangements for subcontracting. 13 

Meanwhile Frankford steadily increased 
its rate of production by buying new 
machinery, allotting more floor space to 
small arms ammunition, and recruiting 
employees to man extra shifts. 14 Because 
of the urgent need for immediate produc- 
tion to supply U.S. troops in 1940-41, 
Frankford was permitted to take for its 
own use the war reserve machinery ear- 
marked for Remington and Western. In 
August 1940 the arsenal's small arms di- 
vision went on a 6-day week, and added a 
second 8-hour shift later in the year, but a 
full third shift was not organized and put 
into production until mid- 1 94 1 - As a result 
of these efforts, Frankford Arsenal's esti- 
mated yearly capacity, based on 'round- 
the-clock operation seven days a week, 
increased. {Table 18) 

Building New Plants, 1^40-42 

At the start of the defense period there 
was considerable uncertainty as to how 
much ammunition would be needed and 
what arrangements should be made for 
its production. Ordnance leaders tended to 
be conservative in their estimates and 

reluctant to embark upon an overly am- 
bitious program. They frequently ques- 
tioned the estimates of future needs pre- 
pared by G-4 and the Assistant Secretary. 
In July and August 1940, when produc- 
tive capacity to meet the Munitions Pro- 
gram of 30 June was under study, the 
ammunition requirements figures reached 
such high levels that about half the pro- 
gram was postponed to allow time for 
reconsideration of the whole subject. Ord- 
nance started planning for only two r.ew 
plants. Then in late September Brig. Gen. 
Richard C. Moore, Deputy Chief of Staff, 
informed Ordnance that the original re- 
quirements were sound and declared it 
was "imperative" that production of all 
small arms ammunition, particularly .30- 
caliber, be greatly increased at once. 15 

13 SAA, I, pp. 84-86. To supply China with ammunition the plant of the Western 
Cartridge Co. at East Alton, 111., was expanded 
in 1942. 

1 4 For an account of this process by the officer 
in charge, see "Small-Arms Ammunition," by Col. 
James Kirk, Army Ordnance, XXII, No. 129 
(November-December 1941), 369. The manu- 
facturing methods are described and illustrated 
with photographs. 

15 Memo, Deputy CofS (Gen Richard C. 
Moore) for CofOrd, 23 Sep 40, sub: Prod of 
SA Ammo, G-4/31773. See also disposition slip, 
Deputy CofS to TAG and CofOrd, 6 Aug 40, 
sub: Ammo Expenditure and Prod Program, in 
same file. 



In reply, General Wesson reviewed the 
steps already taken to increase the capacity 
of Frankford Arsenal and commercial 
plants. The only way to gain more new 
production at once, he pointed out, was 
to take over the British contracts with 
commercial firms in the United States. To 
meet the future needs of the a-million- 
man force, General Wesson said he would 
have to build three new plants (including 
the two under way) at a cost of $20 
million each, but warned that they prob- 
ably would not come into production for 
fifteen months. The proposal to take over 
British contracts was not acceptable, for it 
ran counter to the policy of aiding Britain, 
but G—4 and the Assistant Secretary 
promptly approved General Wesson's pro- 
posal to build three new plants. They 
thus launched the so-called First Wave of 
expansion in the Ordnance small arms 
ammunition program. 16 

The First Wave 

While these discussions were in progress 
Ordnance drew up detailed plans for three 
government - owned, contractor - operated 
(GOCO) plants. After much intensive 
study, followed by approval of various 
agencies, the sites were selected — Lake 
City, Mo., Denver, Colo., and St. Louis, 
Mo. 17 The first two were to be operated 
by Remington and the third by the U.S. 
Cartridge Company (a subsidiary of West- 
ern Cartridge Company of East Alton, 
III.) with the McQuay-Norris Company 
operating the core-making part of the St. 
Louis plant. 18 A letter of intent covering 
the Lake City project was sent to Reming- 
ton and Western as early as mid-September 
enabling them to proceed with engineering 
work and placement of orders for produc- 
tion equipment. Ground was broken by 
Senator Harry S. Truman the day after 

Christmas 1940, and the first loaded cart- 
ridges were produced in September 1941 
— three months ahead of General Wesson's 
estimate. The site for the St. Louis plan):, 
largest of the small arms ammunition fa- 
cilities, was selected in January 1941, and 
production of .30-caliber and .50-caliber 
got under way within the year. Patterned 
after Lake City, the .30-caliber Denver 
plant went up faster, taking only seven 
months from the start of construction in 
March to first production in October 
1 94 1. With a daily population of some 
20,000, the Denver plant was Colorado's 
fourth largest community. It covered a 
2,000-acre reservation, had more than 200 
buildings, a police force larger than that 
of Denver, a hospital, a railroad station, 
1 1 miles of railroad track, 1 7 miles of 
roads, and 15 miles of fencing. 19 

18 (1) Memo, CofOrd for DGofS, 30 Sep 40, 
sub: Prod of SA Ammo, OO 471/200; (2) 
Memo, Lt Col Henry S. Aurand for Brig. Gen. 
Eugene Reybold, sub: Prod of SA Ammo, G-4/ 
3 '773! (3) Memo, Acting ACofS (Col Reybold) 
for ASW, 3 Oct 40, sub: Prod of SA Ammo, 
G-4/31773; (4) Intervs with Burns and Maj. 
Gen. Charles T. Harris, fall of 1953. 

17 Memo, Chief of SA Div for Chief of Ind 
Serv, 16 Oct 40, sub: Funds for Manufacture of 
SA Ammo. . . , OHF. When this memo was 
written the Denver site had not yet been selected. 
Photostat copies of letters of approval signed by 
President Franklin D. Roosevelt are in OHF. The 
cost of all three plants was originally estimated 
to be $65,000,000. 

18 For description of the early planning on the 
production of armor-piercing cores, see History of 
the Core Program, by SA Div, Ind Serv, (1945), 
p. 205. A single government-owned source of 
supply was considered, better than purchasing 
from many small commercial concerns because of 
the great need for screw machines and heat- 
treating equipment and the necessity for carefully 
controlling quality. Efficiency, speed, and economy 
dictated the decision to put all core production 
under one roof. The subject is also treated in 
SAA, I, pp. 270-84. 

19 For details on construction and early pro- 
duction, see the plant histories in OHF. Including 
later additions, the cost of building and equip- 



These First Wave plants were all in 
production by December 1941. Combined, 
they had a capacity of over 300,000,000 
rounds per month — more than six times 
the capacity of Frankford. 20 But all during 
1 941, while they were being built and 
equipped, Frankford was virtually the sole 
source of new small arms ammunition. 
Commercial firms under contract to the 
British were not disturbed. Frankford thus 
served as an element of the "Regular Army 
of production" holding the fort alone until 
new plants could come to the rescue. It 
also served as a school where contractor 
personnel were trained in methods of pro- 
ducing various types of ammunition. 21 

All during the 1940-41 defense period, 
small arms ammunition was in extremely 
short supply. It was the most critical class 
of items in Ordnance procurement. Both 
G— 4 and the Assistant Secretary of War 
repeatedly urged Ordnance to open new 
plants as fast as possible. Secretary Patter- 
son time after time stressed the need for 
more production. In February 1 941 , for 
example, he wrote to General Wesson as 
follows : 

As you know, the situation in regard to 
Caliber .30 and Caliber .50 small arms am- 
munition is most critical. The existing stocks 
together with deliveries scheduled for 1941 
are, in general, not adequate to meet the 
needs of the Army and Navy for target 
practice . . . and to provide necessary com- 
bat reserves. ... It will be necessary to 
limit training to a very small part of re- 
quirements. 5(2 

A few months later he told General Wesson 
and General Somervell that the shortage of 
small arms ammunition was being pre- 
sented to him from day to day and that 

ping these three plants was a little more than 
$250,000,000. SAA, I, table opposite p. 114. 

officers in the field considered it "the ma- 
jor deterrent to proper training of the 
troops." 23 Because of the urgency of the 
situation, construction and equipment of 
all the small arms plants was given an 
A-i-a priority in May 1941, the only 
such priority rating granted to Ordnance, 
and their operation after completion was 
given the same rating. 24 

The Second Wave 

Under these pressures Ordnance drew 
up plans for the Second Wave of three 
plants. Approved by the War Department 
in the spring of 1941, construction of the 
Utah, Twin Cities, and Des Moines plants 
began during late July and August. In 
addition to its already heavy burden as 
operator of Lake City and Denver, Rem- 
ington undertook to operate the Utah 
plant at Salt Lake City. To staff this 
facility, which covered five thousand acres, 
the company recruited and trained more 
than ten thousand employees in a non- 

20 The total daily capacity of the new plants 
included 8,000,000 .30-caliber, 2,000,000 .30- 
caliber carbine (added in December 1941) and 

1,200,000 .50-caliber. Frankford's daily capacity in 
June 194 1 was about 2,000,000, including .30- 
caliber, .45-caliber, and .50-caliber, SAA, I, p. 


21 It should be noted that small arms ammuni- 
tion was only one part of Frankford's responsibil- 
ity. The arsenal was also a center for development 
and production of artillery ammunition and fire 
control apparatus. 

22 Memo, ASW for CofOrd, 10 Feb 41, sub: 
Expediting Prod of SA Ammo, OO 471.4/504. 
For G-4 opinion, see Memo, G-4 for CofOrd, 
23 Sep 40, sub: Prod of SA Ammo. G-4 file 

23 Memo, Patterson for Wesson, 2 Jul 41, OO 

24 (r) Memo, ANMB for Brig Gen Charles T. 
Harris, g May 41, sub: Priority Rating for SA 
Ammo, OO 471.4/988; (2) Memo, Lt Col 
Drewry for Chief of Ind Serv, 13 May 41, sub: 
Priority Rating for SA Ammo, OO 47 1.41/ 1002. 



industrial area where workers with factory 
experience were almost unknown. The 
Federal Cartridge Company of Anoka, 
Minn., contracted to operate the Twin 
Cities Ordnance Plant a few miles north 
of Minneapolis and St. Paul. 25 The plant 
at Des Moines, Iowa, went to a concern 
with no experience in ammunition produc- 
tion — the U.S. Rubber Company of Ak- 
ron, Ohio. Because the rubber shortage 
had forced curtailment of its normal oper- 
ations, this concern was able to place part 
of its managerial resources at the disposal 
of the Ordnance Department. 26 All these 
plants were of a less permanent type than 
those of the First Wave and came into 
production during February and March 
1942, averaging only seven months from 
the date ground was broken. When com- 
pleted, they brought total monthly pro- 
duction capacity up to 480,000,000 for 
.30-caliber and 140,000,000 for .50- 
caliber. 27 Steel cores for AP ammunition 
were supplied all the Second Wave plants 
by the Toledo Core Plant operated by the 
Willys-Overland Company. 

In 1940 Ordnance saw that the old line 
brass and copper companies would not be 
able to produce all the brass strip needed 
by the ammunition program. As ammuni- 
tion requirements rose time after time 
during 1 94 1 the need for new brass strip 
capacity became more clearly apparent. 
Ordnance therefore made arrangements 
for building four new brass mills to be 
financed by the Defense Plant Corporation 
and operated under cost-plus-fixed-fee 
contracts by four leading brass companies 
— American, Bridgeport, Chase, and Re- 
vere. Expansion of existing privately owned 
plants — particularly Western Cartridge, 
supplier for the St. Louis plant — was also 
undertaken, but in 1942 the shortage of 
brass strip capacity became acute. 28 

Building and equipping all these new 
plants during 1941 in competition with 
hundreds of other high priority projects for 
scarce machine tools and building mate- 
rials was not easy. For the First Wave, 
machine-tool deliveries took almost a year 
after the orders were placed, and there 
was nearly as long a delay in equipping 
the Second Wave plants. Heavy machinery 
needed for mass production of ammunition 
was of special design and could not have 
been built quickly even if machine-tool 
builders had not been flooded with other 
orders. At the request of the government, 
Remington and Western co-operated close- 
ly in standardizing equipment and placing 
orders for machinery, opening a joint office 
at Frankford for the purpose in November 
1940. Intensive efforts were also made to 
provide an adequate supply of perishable 
tools at all the plants. 29 

Shortage of experienced management 
was another major bottleneck. It was es- 
timated that in 1940 there were in the 
United States less than one hundred men 

25 On selection of these sites, see memo for 
record by E. M. Martin, 9 Sep 41, pp. 138-39, 
SAA, II, Ref 40. The Ordnance historical files 
contain histories of each plant. 

28 Memo, Maj Edward C. Franklin for Fisc Div, 
1 Oct 4r, pp. 140-41, in SAA, II, Ref 41. This 
memo explains the reasons for selecting each con- 
tractor for the Second Wave plants. 

27 Each plant was originally designed to pro- 
duce 2,000,000 rounds of .30-caliber and 600,000 
rounds of .50-caliber per day, but the quantities 
were changed frequently. See- Incl to Memo, 
CofOrd for USW, 18 Apr 41, OO 400.12/2764. 

28 (1) SAA, I, pp. 254-58; (2) Memo, Camp- 
bell to Brig Gen Charles T. Harris, 23 Nov 40, 
Ref 107 in SAA, II. 

20 For details on procurement of machinery, see 
SAA, I, pp. 20off. The contract with Remington 
to schedule and expedite procurement of all pro- 
duction machinery is described in History, Utah 
Ordnance Plant, Volume 10 1. The tool problem 
is discussed in History, St. Louis Ordnance Plant, 
Volumes VIII-IX. 



with comprehensive knowledge of military 
ammunition production. To staff the First 
Wave plants, the small arms industry had 
spread its executive and supervisory per- 
sonnel so thin that there was some ques- 
tion as to its ability to take over manage- 
ment of the Second Wave. Ordnance 
officers were deeply concerned about this 
matter, for they recalled the failure of 
many firms to produce in 1917-18. "Dur- 
ing the last war," wrote General Wesson, 
"a large number of concerns, inexperienced 
in the production of small arms ammuni- 
tion, attempted its production and the 
records show that not one of them ever 
delivered a satisfactory round." 30 

All these factors combined led General 
Wesson to conclude in the spring of 1941 
that, beyond the three First Wave plants 
under contract and the three Second Wave 
plants just approved, no further expan- 
sion of small arms ammunition facilities 
should be undertaken. He felt that taxing 
the managerial ability of the ammunition 
industry beyond its capacity would jeopar- 
dize the entire program. 81 

The Third Wave 

No additional plants were authorized by 
the War Department during the summer 
of 1 94 1, but in September, Col. Thomas J. 
Hayes of the Under Secretary's office made 
a comparison of requirements with pro- 
duction capacity and concluded that ca- 
pacity fell far short of meeting the needs 
of the Army, Navy, and Air Corps — 
without even considering defense aid. 32 
After his requirements figures were con- 
firmed by G-4, Colonel Hayes recom- 
mended that Ordnance create additional 
capacity at once, including facilities for 
rolling sheet brass. He recognized that cop- 
per would be difficult to obtain but did 

not believe it should be accepted as "the 
determining factor in this question" in 
view of the possible savings from convert- 
ing to steel artillery cases, salvaging used 
brass cases, and curtailing civilian use of 
copper. 33 General Harris, then acting 
Chief of Ordnance, was reluctant to un- 
dertake this expansion (estimated to cost 
$225 million if new plants were built) 
without more definite assurance that cop- 
per and machine tools would be available. 
He cited figures to show that requirements 
for the new plants, when added to those 
of existing plants, would total fifty-three 
million pounds of copper per month, or 
nearly 18 percent of all copper expected to 
be available to the United States during 
1942. He quoted the Office of Production 
Management to the effect that this amount 
of copper could not be allocated to small 
arms ammunition without seriously cur- 
tailing production of other items. But on 
1 November the Under Secretary's Office 
overruled General Harris and directed 
Ordnance to go ahead with the new con- 
struction. General Hayes meanwhile re- 
iterated his opinion that curtailment of 
civilian consumption would ease the copper 

30 Memo, GofOrd for USW, 18 Apr 41, sub: 
Prod Capacity for Cal. .30 and Cal. .50 Ammo, 
OO 400.12/2764, copy in SAA, II, Ref 16b. For a 
list of the concerns that did produce ammunition 
in World War I, see Memo, Col Rene R. Stndler 
for CofOrd, 12 Aug 41, sub: SA Ammo Prod 
during the World War. Gen Minton's file, Reports 
Requested. For an excellent brief account of 
World War I experiences, see Crowell, America's 
Munitions igiy-18, Chapter 12, Book 1. 

31 Ibid. 

32 Memo, Col Thomas J. Hayes, OUSW, for 
WD Facilities Bd, 15 Sep 41, sub: Prod Capacity 
for . . . Ammo, SAA, II, Ref 48. 

3S Memo, Hayes, OUSW, for WD Facilities Bd, 
3 Oct 41, sub: Prod Capacity for . . . Ammo, 
SAA, II, Ref 50. See also Memo, G-4 for WD 
Facilities Bd, 26 Sep 41, same sub, in G-4/ 
28664-104, OO 471. 4/2169, and copy in SAA, II, 
Ref 62. 



shortage and pointed out again that exist- 
ing plants, even operating twenty-four 
hours per day seven days a week, could 
not meet stated requirements. 3 * 

Still doubting the wisdom of this de- 
cision, Generals Wesson and Harris in 
mid-November called for a reconsideration 
of the whole subject of ammunition re- 
quirements. They pointed out that facil- 
ities sufficient to maintain an army of four 
million men in the field were under con- 
struction and would start producing early 
in 1 942. "By reason of shipping difficulties 
alone," they wrote, "it does not appear 
probable that an American army of 4,000- 

000 men will engage in combat within the 
next twelve months either in this hemis- 
phere or in any other theater. This twelve 
month period will permit filling up the 
lines of supply and producing a reserve 
. . . sufficient ... for an additional year." 
They argued that no new plants were 
needed, except possibly for special new 
items, and challenged the validity of the 
astronomical figures being used for 1942 
ammunition requirements. In addition to 
their contention that four million men 
would not see combat overseas in 1942, 
the generals asserted that the established 
Day of Supply for computing ammunition 
requirements was far too high and could 
possibly be reduced by as much as 75 
percent. 38 

While awaiting an answer, Ordnance 
went ahead with plans to carry out the 

1 November directive. To provide the ad- 
ditional capacity as quickly and economic- 
ally as possible, Colonel Drewry, Chief of 
the Small Arms Branch, decided to expand 
existing plants rather than build new ones 
— and also take into account the fact that 
the plants were producing from 30 to 40 
percent more than expected. 38 Space orig- 
inally provided at each plant for storage 

of incoming and outgoing materials was 
taken over for manufacturing. One new 
building was erected at Lake City and 
three at Twin Cities. AP cores were pro- 
duced by the Edison G. E. Appliance 
Company of Chicago, operator of the Chi- 
cago Core Plant, and by Cuneo Press, Inc., 
and other commercial firms. 37 This ex- 
pansion, generally referred to as the Third 
Wave, was estimated to cost just under 
$100 million and to add about 50 percent 
to the capacity established by the first two 
waves. 38 While these steps were being 
taken war broke out with the attack on 
Pearl Harbor, and Secretary Patterson re- 
doubled his demands for more ammuni- 
tion. "The combat forces need .50-caliber 
ammunition more than anything else," he 
wrote late in December. "The need is 
urgent and pressing. . . . There is no time 
to lose." 38 

34 (1) Memo, CofOrd for USW, 8 Oct 41, sub: 
Additional Prod Capacity for . . . Ammo, and 
1st Indorsement, i Nov 41, OO 471.4/2172; (a) 
Memo, Brig Gen Hayes for WD Facilities Bd, 24 
Oct 41, OO 471.4/2173. 

35 Memo, CofOrd, for USW, 17 Nov 41, sub:. 
Ping Rules for the Victory Program, OO 381/ 
48577 and ExecO files. See also Ltr, Brig Gen Guy 
H. Drewry (Ret.) to Thomson, 26 Jan 54, OHF, 
stating, "I thought the small arms ammunition 
requirements were unrealistic and excessive from 
the beginning." 

30 The capacity of each plant had been conserv- 
atively estimated in advance without operating 
experience to show what might be accomplished 
by adapting conveyorized production to previous 
Remington and Frankford procedures. 

37 (1) Hist, Core Program, pp. 15-17; (2) 
SAA, II, p. 281. 

38 (1) SAA, I, p. 164. See also the original 
statement of this plan by Col Drewry in Memo 
for Brig Gen Charles Harris, 13 Nov 41, sub: 
Plan for Increased Prod Capacity of SA Ammo, 
OHF. For Secretary Patterson's approval and de- 
tailed statement of costs, see Memorandum of Ap- 
proval-No. 9, ao Dec 41, copy in SAA, II, p. 199. 

39 Memo, USW ior CofOrd, 27 Dec 41, sub: 
.50-Cal. Ammo, OO 471.4/2977. See also strongly 
worded Memo of Somervell (G-4) to USW, 26 



Post Pearl Harbor Requirements 

The Ordnance memo of mid-November 
was answered by the tide of events more 
than by careful study of production prob- 
lems. In the hectic weeks following Pearl 
Harbor the planners reviewed the Day of 
Supply, the planned rate of mobilization, 
probable losses through ship sinkings, the 
maximum production to be expected from 
existing plants, the time required to build 
new facilities, the availability of machine 
tools, the supply of copper, and aid to 
allies. The British Prime Minister and his 
staff came to Washington in December 
ig4i for a series of conferences at which 
the need for increasing American produc- 
tion goals was forcefully presented. The 
huge lend-lease requirements then formu- 
lated greatly strengthened the case for new 
ammunition plants, but Ordnance con- 
sidered them "unrealistic and excessive." 
General Harris argued in vain to have the 
estimates for foreign aid reduced. "But in 
those days," he remarked later, "it was 
practically treason to question anything 
the British asked for." 40 

During January and February 1942 the 
prevailing attitude among the high-level 
planning agencies in Washington was that 
the sky was the limit. There was no time 
for tediously accurate computations but 
only for quick and generous estimates. 
Following the Churchill-Roosevelt conver- 
sations in December and the signing of the 
Declaration of the United Nations on New 
Year's Day 1942, President Roosevelt re- 
vealed the new production goals in a 
dramatic message to Congress. The armed 

Dec 41, sub: Priority of Munitions, referring to 
the "acute shortage" of .50-caliber ammunition 
and the "urgent necessity for increased produc- 
tion," USW file 104 Ammo. 

services were to procure during 1942 some 
forty-five thousand airplanes, forty-five 
thousand tanks, five hundred thousand 
machine guns, and "ammunition commen- 
surate to this program on the assumption 
that these munitions of war are to be used 
in combat." 41 

Under this statement of policy by the 
Commander in Chief, requirements for 
small arms ammunition reached dizzy 
heights, one proposal calling for the pro- 
duction of 122 billion rounds by the end 
of 1944. General Harris, who as chief of 
the Industrial Service was responsible for 
procuring these vast quantities of ammuni- 
tion, felt that the Presidential advisers, 
and their British counterparts, were suffer- 
ing from an attack of the jitters and were 
asking Ordnance and American industry 
to do things that were neither necessary 
nor possible. Conceding that there was an 
ammunition shortage at the moment, he 
urged patience and assured his listeners 
that when the new plants came into pro- 
duction the nation would find that, for 
the first time since the emergency began, 
it had "too much, too soon." "Give us a 
little time," he pleaded, "and you will 
have ammunition running out of your 
ears." He and General Wesson warned 

40 Interv with Maj Gen Charles T. Harris, Jr., 
Dec 53. In telephone conversation with the author 
on 7 January 1954, Maj Gen Hayes declared 
that the lend-lease requirements formulated in 
December 194 1 were "staggering" and were first 
presented to Ordnance during a long night con- 
ference on 30 December 194 1. See also memo 
referring to this conference, Hayes for USW, 1 
Jan 42, USW files 104, Ammo. General Drewry's 
opinion that the requirements were too high is 
expressed in letter to the author, 26 January 
1954, OHF. 

41 See also Ltr, President Franklin D. Roosevelt 
to Stimson, 3 Jan 42, ex. 19 in PSP 55, vol. I, by 
Maj Paul D. Olejar and others, Jul 45, OHF, and 
Incl to Memo, Patterson for Knudsen, 2 Jan 42, 
OUSW Madigan file (Ord Gen), 50-240. 



that additional plants were unnecessary, 
would be a waste of money and materials, 
and would not be able to operate for lack 
of copper. But these pleas were out of 
tune with the prevailing Washington mood, 
and in mid-February, when G— 4 com- 
mented on the Ordnance memo of 17 
November, the existing Day of Supply and 
the over-all ammunition requirements were 
upheld. "The quantities contained in cur- 
rent programs," wrote General Somervell, 
"are not excessive." 42 The War Produc- 
tion Board gave assurance that sufficient 
copper would be available, and Ordnance 
was directed to build eighty more produc- 
tion lines — the equivalent of three new 
plants — before the end of the year. 43 These 
new lines, known as the Fourth Wave, 
could produce during 1943 about 5,500,- 
000,000 rounds of .30-caliber or 3,240,- 
000,000 rounds of .50-caliber. G— 4 was 
to determine the proportion of each cali- 
ber and type. One hundred more lines 
were tentatively proposed for the first half 
of 1943, but it was planned to review the 
situation again before these lines were 
finally authorized. 44 

The Fourth Wave 

The 80-line expansion was mostly for 
.30-caliber ammunition, 51 of the lines 
being devoted to that caliber. It was de- 
signed to increase existing capacity by 
about 40 percent and bring total yearly 
production up to 22,500,000,000 rounds. 45 
Ordnance decided to achieve it by ex- 
panding four existing plants — Lake City, 
Denver, Des Moines, and Evansville — , by 
converting the Kings Mills plant from 
.45-caliber to .30-caliber carbine, and by 
converting five commercial plants that had 
formerly made candy, textiles, rubber 

tires, and automobiles. Remington under- 
took to operate the Lowell Plant in Massa- 
chusetts, Kelly-Springfield Tire Company 
the Allegany Plant in Maryland, U.S. 
Rubber Company the Eau Claire (Wis.) 
and Milwaukee plants, and Simmons Bed 
Company the Kenosha plant in Wiscon- 
sin. A new cup plant in Detroit, to be 
operated by the Parker- Wolverine Com- 
pany, was added in the fall. Contrary to 
expectations, most of these plants got into 
production before the end of the year, 
Milwaukee and Eau Claire starting up in 
August, Allegany and Lowell in November. 
At the year's end there were twelve small 
arms ammunition plants in operation, and 
the peak of the wartime expansion had 
been reached. (See Illustration) The de- 

signed capacity of these plants was about 
twenty billion rounds per year, but their 

4 - (1) Intervs with Maj Gen Charles T. Harris, 
Jr., Dec; (2) Memo, G-4 for USW, 12 Feb 42, 
sub: Day of Supply. . . , G-4/2OO52-67 and Ord 
ExeeO files; (3) Memo, GofOrd for OUSW, 10 
Jan 42, sub: SA Prod Capacity, OHF; (4) Memo, 
CofOrd for OUSW, 31 Jan 42, sub: Request for 
Approval of Facilities Project (Evansville), OO 
160/116196 Chrysler; (5) Excerpts from testi- 
mony of Col Drewry at conf, 30—31 Dec 41, 21 
Jan 42, SAA, II, pp. 216-18; (6) Memo, CofOrd 
for CG, SOS, 25 Apr 42, sub: Additional Ca- 
pacity for SA Materiel, Ref 109 in SAA, II. 

43 A "line" was a manufacturing area capable 
of producing 250,000 rounds of .30-caliber or 
150,000 rounds of .50-caliber per 24-hour day. As 
plants could produce 30 percent or 40 percent 
over designed capacity, figures for line capacity 
went up considerably in 1942. 

44 (1) Memo, Col Drewry for CofOrd, 23 Feb 
42, sub: Confirmation of Decisions Made During 
Conf, Friday, Feb 20, 1942. SAA, II, pp. 221-24. 
For detailed reports of the discussions of this 
problem, see the series of stenographic reports of 
conferences in the first half of 1942 entitled Re- 
view of Production Plans of Small Arms Division. 
Excerpts from these reports are in SAA, II. 

45 Memo, SA Div for Ind Serv Prod Div, 6 
Mar 42, sub: Request for A-i-a Rating. . . , 
SAA, II, p. 354. 




Plant Location Contractor 


Allegany Ordnance 

Cumberland, Md. 

Kell^-Springfield Eng. Co. 



Denver Ordnance Plant 

Denver, Colo. 

Remington Arms Co. 


Des Moines Ordnance 

Des Moines, Iowa 

United States Rubber Co. 


Eau Claire Ordnance 

Eau Claire, Wis. 

United States Rubber Co. 



Evansville Ordnance 

Evansville, Ind. 

Chrysler Corporation 



Kings Mills Ordnance 

Kings Mills, Ohio 

Remington Arms Co. 


Lake City Ordnance 

Independence, Mo. 

Remington Arms Co. 



Lowell Ordnance Plant 

Lowell, Mass. 

Remington Arms Co. 


Milwaukee Ordnance 

Milwaukee, Wis. 

United States Rubber Co. 



St. Louis Ordnance 

St. Louis, Mo. 

United States Cartridge Co. 



Twin Cities Ordnance 

New Brighton, Minn. 

Federal Cartridge Co. 



Utah Ordnance Plant 

Salt Lake City, Utah 

Remington Arms Co. 



maximum actual capacity was close to 
thirty billion. 46 

Coming just before the 8o-line Fourth 
Wave, but generally considered part of it, 
was the Evansville plant in Indiana opera- 
ted by the Chrysler Corporation to manu- 
facture .45-caliber ammunition. Require- 
ments for this caliber had been low during 

1940 and most of 1941, but in August 

1 94 1 new British and Chinese requirements 
necessitated doubling existing capacity. A 
contract was soon placed with Reming- 
ton to convert its Kings Mills plant at 
Cincinnati, Ohio, to .45-caliber produc- 
tion, and in late January 1942 the Chrysler 
Corporation agreed to convert its idle 
body plant at Evansvilje, Indiana, to .45- 
caliber production. In the summer of 1942 
the Kings Mills Plant was converted to 
.30-caliber carbine cartridges. Between 
June 1942, when it started producing, 
and the spring of 1944, when it closed, 
Evansville turned out over 90 percent of 
all .45-caliber ammunition produced in 
the United States. The Sunbeam Electric 
Company operated a division of the Evans- 
ville Plant making cartridge cases. 47 

The Fourth Wave was the high point for 
small arms ammunition, so high, in fact, 
that it was never reached. Plans for one of 
the plants were canceled before the con- 
tract was signed, and during the summer 
of 1942, as Ordnance had predicted, the 
shortage of copper and a revision of re- 
quirements led to curtailment at all other 
plants. Because of the lack of copper, Twin 
Cities, Des Moines, and Utah were speci- 
fically directed in June to freeze their 
production at the level attained in mid- 
May. In spite of efforts to use steel in 
place of brass, the copper shortage caused 
a loss of over one hundred eighty-five 
thousand rounds in the single month of 
June 1942. 48 Magnesium was so scarce 

that Ordnance reported its plants were 
"living from hand to mouth — eating off 
the stove." 49 Before the Fourth Wave 
plants were more than half built, sub- 
stantial cuts were made in requirements. 
With .30-caliber, for example, require- 
ments for 1942 production were cut back 
from 8.6 billion in March 1942 to 4.8 
billion in September. There were some 
increases in .50-caliber and .30-caliber car- 
bine requirements for 1943 but they were 
small in comparison with the cuts in .30- 
caliber and .45 -caliber, 60 Total output re- 
quired for 1942 dropped from fifty-nine 
billion in February to twenty-three billion 
in November. 51 

The Fifth Wave 

As early as July 1942 Ordnance sub- 
mitted recommendations for curtailing 
1943 production and making minor 

46 Interim Rpt on SA Ammo, 26 Dec 44, by 
War Projects Unit, Bur of the Budget, OO 4 7 1.4/ 
8333(c). For a brief period in 1943 the Scioto 
Ordnance Plant at Marion, Ohio, produced small 
arms ammunition and brought the total up to 13. 

47 Bullets by the Billion, issued by Evansville 
Ord Plant. Evansville was not a government- 
owned plant as were the first six plants, but a 
privately owned plant converted to war produc- 
tion. The same was true of Lowell, Allegany, and 
Eau Claire. 

48 Memo, CofOrd for CG SOS 1 Jul 4 a, sub: 
Curtailment of Prod at SA Ammo Plants Due to 
Shortage of Copper, Ref III, SAA, II. The figure 
of 209,000,000 rounds is given in Review of Pro- 
duction Plans, Small Arms Branch, 20 July 1942. 
See also discussion of copper as "the limiting 
factor in ammunition production" by Kirk in Re- 
view of the Production Plans of the Small Arms 
Division, 19 Jun 42. 

49 Review of Prod Plans, SA Br, 16 Dec 42, 
ExecO file. 

50 (1) Memo, Col Drewry for Chief, Ind Serv, 
3 Jun 42, sub: Prod and Rqmts of SA Materiel, 
and attached buck slip, both in OHF; (2) SAA, 
I, p. 178. 

51 Review of Prod Plans, SA Br, 16 Dec 42, 



changes in plants already in operation or 
under construction. The recommendations 
were promptly approved by the Services of 
Supply and the Under Secretary and, 
though calling for reduction rather than 
expansion, came to be known as the Fifth 
Wave. Kenosha was canceled entirely; 
Kings Mills shifted from .45 -caliber to 
,30-caliber carbine; Evansville closed down 
twenty lines; Allegany and Lowell switched 
from .30-caliber ball to .50-caliber AP; 
and additional capacity for .50-caliber was 
created at Lake City, Des Moines, and 
Twin Cities. Including other minor 
changes, forty-three lines were canceled 
and four added — two for .50-caliber in- 
cendiary and two for .50-caliber AP. 
Planned production for 1943 was reduced 
by 2,500,000,000 rounds. The period of 
facilities expansion, which had cost about 
$500 million for buildings and equip- 
ment, was over, and the period of readjust- 
ment and retrenchment was beginning. 52 

The Philadelphia Suboffice 

General Campbell decentralized the of- 
fice force for administration of the small 
arms ammunition plants in the summer of 
1942 by creating the Small Arms Am- 
munition Suboffice in Philadelphia. It was 
headed by Lt. Col. Boone Gross and was 
administratively attached to Frankford 
Arsenal. Under control of the Small Arms 
Division in Washington, it co-ordinated 
small arms ammunition production in 
much the same way that FDAP in St. 
Louis co-ordinated production of artillery 
ammunition. Inspection problems and re- 
quests for engineering changes were 
handled by the Philadelphia office in col- 
laboration with Frankford Arsenal. Man- 
ufacturing costs at the GOCO plants were 
studied and compared, and efforts were 

made to reduce contract prices where the 
evidence warranted such action. 53 In July 
1 943 the Philadelphia suboffice adopted an 
incentive plan for determining fees paid to 
plant operators. This plan provided that 
the contractor's fee would be raised or 
lowered, within specified limits, according 
to the success he achieved in producing 
high quality ammunition, lowering costs, 
and using manpower effectively. 54 

All the plants were further tied together 
by industry integration committees. The 
foundation for this co-operative effort was 
laid in 1 940 when Remington and Western, 
with Ordnance approval and encourage- 
ment, agreed to use identical machinery 
in the new plants they were to operate. 
This was long before industry integration 
committees were formally established in 
1942. Remington and Western were soon 
joined by other contractor-operators, Fed- 
eral Cartridge, U.S. Rubber, Chrysler, 
and Kelly-Springfield, and by many con- 
cerns making bullet cores, clad metal 
jackets, tools and metallic belt links, and 
ammunition containers. These committees 
held countless meetings to iron out tech- 
nical difficulties, exchange information, 

52 ( 1 } Memo for record by Col James Kirk, 8 
Jul 42, sub: Prod Capacity for SA Ammo, and 
incls, OHF; (2) SAA, I, pp. i78ff; (3) Hist, 
Lake City Ord Plant, II, Jan-Mar 43, app. A; 
(4) Review of Prod Plans, SA Br, 16 Dec 4a, 
T676A. For details on costs, see SAA, I, pp. 

53 ( 1 ) Lt Col Boone Gross, Cost Analysis of 
Six GOCO Small Arms Ammunition Plants, 4 Jan 
43 ; ( 2 ) Campbell, The Industry-Ordnance Team, 
pp. 62-63; (3) SAA, I, pp. 108-10 and 131-40; 
(4) Maj A. R. Coleman, "Economy in Weapon 
Production," Army Ordnance, XXVII, No. 145 
(July-August 1944), 83-87. 

54 For a description of the plan and its applica- 
tion to one plant, see 2d Indorsement, Philadel- 
phia Suboffice to OCO, 29 Dec 44, on Report of 
Special Inspection of CPFF Contracts at St. Louis 
Ord Plant, 30 Nov 44, OOP 333.1/182 St. Louis 
OP (Incl file). See also SAA, I, pp. 132-40. 



and agree upon standard engineering prac- 
tices. "It is impossible to over evaluate the 
work of the various participating indus- 
tries," states the official history of the 
Small Arms Branch. "It has been brilliant 
and distinguished." 55 

Production Processes and Problems 

The number of GO CO plants making 
small arms ammunition was only one- 
fifth the number of artillery ammunition 
plants and works, for it included no smoke- 
less powder or TNT plants, no chemical 
works like Baytown, nor any loading plants 
comparable to Kingsbury or Cornhusker. 
As smokeless powder for rifle and machine 
gun cartridges was required in compara- 
tively small quantities it was obtained from 
the powder plants built for artillery am- 
munition. High explosives such as TNT 
and RDX were not used at all in small 
arms ammunition. Nor did manufacture of 
small caliber cartridges require separate 
plants for making cases, shells, fuzes, or 
other components, or for loading and as- 
sembling complete rounds. Each small 
arms plant was a self-contained unit where- 
in thousands of workers — including as 
many women as men — completed the 
whole process of manufacture amid rows 
of huge automatic machines, conveyor 
belts, and annealing furnaces. Raw mate- 
rial in the form of brass strips or cups, lead 
billets, steel wire, and smokeless powder 
came in at one end of the plant; millions 
of bright and shining cartridges came out 
the other end. 

Description of Manufacture. 

Operations within the St. Louis Ord- 
nance Plant, largest of the small arms am- 
munition facilities, may be cited as fairly 

representative of the production process. 
Covering an area of three hundred acres 
and employing more than forty thousand 
workers, this $130 million plant, operated 
by the United States Cartridge Company, 
was the largest employer of labor in the 
St. Louis area. Its first lot of ammunition 
was accepted by Ordnance on the day 
after Pearl Harbor, and during the next 
four years it turned out over seven billion 
rounds, including ball, armor-piercing, and 
incendiary types. 56 

Each cartridge made at St. Louis, as at 
other plants, consisted of three metal parts 
— case, primer, and bullet. The case was 
normally made of brass and, except for 
size, was similar to an artillery case. The 
primer, inserted in a pocket in the head 
of the case, was a small cup containing a 
sensitive explosive. When struck by the 
firing pin it burst into flame and ignited 
the propellent powder in the case. The 
bullet was an elongated lead slug covered 
with a thin jacket of gilding metal (a soft 
copper alloy) or copper-clad steel and was 
held firmly in the mouth of the case. Each 
of these parts had to meet rigid specifica- 
tions governing its weight, shape, lineal 
measurements, and exterior finish — speci- 
fications that had been worked out during 

55 (1) SAA, I, pp. 342-484; (2) History of all 
Small- Arms Industry Integration Committees. 
Both volumes contain many letters from small 
arms ammunition contractors describing the work 
of the committees and praising their usefulness. 
See also, for specific data on each committee, 
McMullen, Industry Integration Committees. 

56 (1) History, St. Louis Ordnance Plant, OHF; 
( 2 ) Bullets by the Billion, a pamphlet for em- 
ployees and visitors issued by the St. Louis plant 
in 1943, copy in vol. VI of plant history. For 
related data on ammunition see TM 9-1 goo, 18 
Jun 45, and Bullets by the Billion issued by the 
Evansville plant. Reports of inspecting officers also 
contain a wealth of specific information. See OOP 
333.1 St. Louis Ord Plant. 



many years of experiment and been tested 
by firing millions of rounds at Ordnance 
proof ranges. 57 

Cartridge brass came to the St. Louis 
plant from Western Cartridge Company's 
nearby brass mill at East Alton, 111., in the 
form of long strips coiled like huge rolls 
of cellophane tape. The first step in cart- 
ridge case manufacture at St. Louis was 
to feed these brass strips into a blank-and- 
cup machine that simultaneously 
stamped out round disks and formed them 
into cups. These cups were then washed, 
dried, and placed in furnaces to relieve 
stresses and strains developed during the 
cupping process. If not relieved, these 
metallurgical pressures might cause the 
case to crack during later manufacturing 
operations or during storage. Ordnance 
later transferred this phase of cartridge 
manufacture to the brass mills as the ship- 
ment to ammunition plants of strips con- 
taining a good deal of scrap was less 
economical than shipment of cups. 

As they emerged from the furnaces the 
cups had to be "pickled" in an acid bath 
to remove the oxide film that formed 
during annealing. To wash off every trace 
of surface impurity they were rinsed in 
cold water, bathed in hot soapy water, 
rinsed again, and dried. Only then were 
they ready for the "first draw" during 
which a long, powerful punch was forced 
into each cup, making it deeper and 
thinner-walled — more like a drinking glass 
than a cup. Four such draws were needed 
before the case reached its proper length, 
and after each draw the cases had again 
to be annealed, pickled, washed, dried, 
and trimmed. Company inspectors visually 
examined the cups after each operation to 
detect crooked heads, scratches, or other 
defects; they also gaged them for length, 
inside and outside diameter, and wall 

thickness. Next came the punching of a 
small pocket in the head of the case to hold 
the primer cup, followed by the heading 
operation that flattened the end of the 
case, stamped on it the plant initials and 
year of manufacture, and cut the extractor 

The tapering and necking process was 
far more difficult than it appeared to be. 
It demanded careful annealing and pre- 
cision working of the case to give it a 
narrow neck, sloping shoulders, and a 
slightly tapered body. Only the body was 
annealed — not the head, for it had to 
remain hard — so the cases were slipped 
into holes in a revolving dial that ex- 
posed the bodies to a row of gas burners 
while the heads were submerged in cold 
water. The next step was insertion of the 
primer. The machine used for this purpose 
first punched a "flash hole" in the primer 
pocket, then seated the primer to the 
proper depth and crimped it into place. 
After shellac and varnish were applied to 
make the cases moisture-proof, they were 
dried and inspected. If they passed muster 
they were ready to be filled with powder 
and topped with bullets. 

The bullets used at St. Louis were 
innocent-looking metal slugs that appeared 
to present no difficult manufacturing 
problems. But in fact their fabrication in- 
volved a number of rather intricate steps. 
The simplest type of ammunition was ball, 
with tracer, armor-piercing, and incendiary 
rounds each introducing its own compli- 
cations. Ball bullets belied their name. 
They were not ball-shaped but pointed at 
the nose. AP bullets not only had a pointed 
nose but also a slight taper or boattail at 
the base. The only small arms bullet that 

ST For contemporary description data, see TM 
9-1900, Small-Arms Ammunition, 23 May 42. 



Lead Slugs for .45-Caliber Bullets being cut from reel of lead wire. 

even approached ball shape was the .45- 
caliber. 58 The essential material in .30- 
caliber and .45-caliber ball bullets was 
lead, but the lead had to be covered with 
a bullet jacket, normally made of gilding 
metal. Cutting the lead slugs from lengths 
of slender wire was a comparatively simple 
operation, but forming the bullet jacket 
was something akin to making cartridge 
cases. Starting with strips of gilding metal, 
disks were stamped out and formed into 
cups which then went through a whole 
series of annealing, pickling, cleaning, and 
drawing operations before they were ready 
to be slipped over the lead slugs. As it did 
with cartridge brass, Ordnance transferred 
the process from its ammunition plants 
to commercial suppliers. For armor- 
piercing ammunition special AP cores of 
hardened steel took the place of lead slugs, 

and only enough lead was used to insure 
a snug fit. AP cores used by the St. Louis 
plant were manufactured by the McQuay- 
Norris Company in its core-making facil- 
ity within the plant. A tracer bullet con- 
sisted of a jacket containing a small lead 
slug and illuminant powder that burned 
while the bullet was in flight. An incendi- 
ary bullet contained a chemical mixture 
that ignited on impact with the target. 

Assembling the parts of the cartridge was 
usually referred to as "loading," although 
this term did not include insertion of the 

58 The use of the term "ball" was apparently 
a carryover from earlier days when spherical bul- 
lets were standard. It was used in World War II 
to describe bullets of plain lead, or soft steel and 
lead combined, and to distinguish them from 
bullets of a specialized nature such as AP, in- 
cendiary, or tracer. 



primer into the case. At the loading ma- 
chine the case was filled with smokeless 
powder, the bullet was inserted in its 
mouth, and the case was crimped to hold 
the bullet securely, i.e., the edge of the 
case mouth was rolled so that it bit into 
the groove or cannelure in the bullet. The 
nose of the bullet was then dipped into 
lacquer of the proper color to identify it 
as to type — red for tracer, black for AP, 
blue for incendiary, and so on. Powder was 
brought to the plant as needed from the 
Tyson Valley Powder Storage Area, a 
2500-acre plot thirty-two miles southwest 
of the plant site. 

All along the line of manufacture and 
assembly, company inspectors watched for 
imperfections that might cause trouble 
when a cartridge was fired. With the aid 
of mirrors and magnifying glasses some 
looked for surface defects while others 
with hand gages checked various dimen- 
sions. For inspection purposes the St. 
Louis plant used over sixteen thousand 
precision gages and micrometers costing 
more than half a million dollars. When 
completely loaded, the ammunition went 
through a machine that automatically 
checked each cartridge for weight, length, 
and profile. At this point government in- 
spectors entered the picture to take sam- 
ples from each lot for thorough inspection 
before acceptance of the entire lot. Ord- 
nance considered this sampling technique, 
known as "quality control," adequate be- 
cause employees of the company had al- 
ready made countless inspections during 
the manufacturing process. 59 In the St. 
Louis "proof house" more than a million 
rounds were fired every month to check 
their performance; some were taken apart 
to see whether they had sufficient powder; 
others were soaked in water to test their 
ability to "keep their powder dry." Muzzle 

velocity tests and accuracy tests were also 
part of the program to maintain quality at 
a high level. All told, inspections on a 
typical round numbered more than fifty. 

The St. Louis Episode 

In January 1943 sensational charges of 
faulty inspection procedures at the St. 
Louis plant appeared in a local news- 
paper, the St. Louis Star-Times. "Unfit 
Shells Pass Plant Inspection at Factory 
Here, Inspectors Charge" was the front- 
page headline on 4 January 1943. "Five 
company employees have given statements 
to the St. Louis Star-Times," the article 
read, "charging manufacture of defective 
ammunition. All are engaged in some form 
of inspection and testing in the manufac- 
ture of .50-caliber machine gun cartridges. 
They say they have direct knowledge of 
defects in some of the component parts of 
cartridges produced under their eyes." 
Cases with cracked heads sometimes 
passed inspection, the employees charged 
in affidavits, and cases with ragged flash 
holes were passed "if any kind of hole was 
visible." Under pressure to speed produc- 
tion, powder was loaded into cases that 
still retained water after being washed and 
dried, or that contained grease or oil from 
production machines. One laboratory 
worker declared that defective brass had 
been used for the past month in cartridge 
cases despite reports of tests showing the 
defects. Another charge was that the com- 
pany's production department approved 
cartridges with loose-fitting bullets. As 
Ordnance inspectors at the plant checked 
only small samples — less than 1 percent 

=!l For discussi on of over-all Ordnance policies 
on inspection, see Chapter XIV, below. 



— from each lot of ammunition before 
accepting it for the government, the em- 
ployees asserted there was a "strong 
chance" that defective cartridges were 
slipping through unnoticed in the 99 per- 
cent of each lot that was not government 
inspected. 60 Though not made public, a 
report of an inspecting officer dated 31 
December 1942 cited complaints by em- 
ployees that foremen had told minor in- 
spectors to violate established practice by 
forcing gages to provide a greater amount 
of aircraft ammunition. 61 

The United States Cartridge Company 
promptly denied the charges and declared 
that "bad or imperfect ammunition has 
not been sent from this plant." It branded 
the charges "false and ridiculous" and 
called for a complete investigation by the 
government. 82 The other newspapers in St. 
Louis played down the story and sug- 
gested it was based on "tavern talk." On 6 
January a spokesman for the Army de- 
clared that "no report had been received 
by the Ordnance Department about de- 
fective material from the St, Louis Small 
Arms Plant during the current situa- 
tion." 83 The Federal Bureau of Investiga- 
tion had been looking into the charges for 
several weeks before 4 January 1943 when 
the Star-Times broke the story, but after 
that date St. Louis was deluged with in- 
vestigators. Maj. Gen. Thomas J. Hayes, 
chief of the Industrial Service, announced 
appointment of a board of experts, headed 
by Col. Merle H. Davis, chief of the St. 
Louis Ordnance, district, to review the in- 
spection methods at the plant. 84 The 
commanding officer, Lt. Col. Charles S. 
PauIIin, meanwhile declared that the 
charges had unsettled operations and 
held up production. 

The Davis Board spent several days 
studying inspection practices at the plant 

with a view toward making them as nearly 
foolproof as possible. It concluded that 
inspection at the St. Louis plant was 
neither better nor worse than at other 
plants and that, if any poor ammunition 
got through, it was inconsequential in 
amount. But it recommended more than a 
dozen changes in procedure to tighten up 
the inspection process. 85 When the report 
reached Washington it was not made 
public, but on 16 January Under Secretary 
Patterson told reporters, "The method of 
ordnance acceptance sampling and inspec- 
tion of the finished product at the St. 
Louis Ordnance Plant is entirely satisfac- 
tory." 88 This categorical statement did 
not satisfy the critics who wanted to know 

00 St. Louis Star-Times, January 4, 1943. The 
story was written by two of the paper's staff 
writers, Julius M. Klein and Ralph O'Leary. Ad- 
ditional data appeared in issues of the next few 
days. The newspaper and the two writers received 
the National Headliners' Club 1943 award for 
outstanding public service in publishing the 

01 Ltr, Lt Col Arthur E. Allen to TIG, 31 Dec 
42, sub: Spec Inspection of . . . St. Louis Ord 
Plant, OOP.333.1 St. Louis OP. Colonel Allen 
concluded that "the supervision, control and ad- 
ministration of the Government employees in the 
Inspection Department was lacking in efficiency 
and thoroughness . . ." and that morale in the 
Inspection Department was at "an unsatisfactory 
low ebb." 

6 " The company placed a statement of its po- 
sition in all St. Louis papers. Photostats of arti- 
cles may be found in History, St. Louis Ordnance 
Plant, Volume 100, OHF. 

63 St. Louis Post-Dispatch, January 6, 1943. 

04 The other members of the board were Capt. 
James H. Dunbar, Jr., chief of engineering and 
inspection at the Small Arms Ammunition Sub- 
office, and Capt. Frank D. Grossman, Henry H. 
Hover, and Arthur W. Darby, all of Frankford 

'' r ' ( 1 ) Interv with Brig Gen Merle H. Davis, 
11 Dec 53; (2) St. Louis Star-Times, January 12, 

r,a St. Louis Post-Dispatch and St. Louis Star- 
Times, January 16, 1943, and St. Louis Globe- 
Democrat, January 17, 1943. 



why, if everything at the plant was satis- 
factory, the Davis Board had recommended 
numerous changes in existing inspection 
procedures. The next day Drew Pearson 
in a radio broadcast termed the Patterson 
statement a "whitewash" and predicted 
that, in spite of Army opposition, the 
Justice Department would proceed with 
its investigations. 67 In St. Louis General 
Campbell promptly branded the Pearson 
charges untrue. "Do you think a man 
[i.e., Colonel Davis] who has spent his 
entire life in the Army is going to white- 
wash any contractor?" the general asked 
a group of newsmen. "If you do, you don't 
know the United States Army. If the ex- 
perts who investigated the plant here had 
found the charges borne out by the facts, 
you would have found us moving in there 
strongly. We could cancel our contract at 
any time." He went on to say that so little 
defective ammunition had gone to troops 
that combat commanders had requested 
shipments of defective cartridges to show 
their men how to deal with them. 68 

Not much was heard of the charges 
during the next ten months while further 
evidence was collected and presented to a 
federal grand jury. Then in December 
1943 came the grand jury's report indict- 
ing ten persons on charges of sabotage and 
of conspiracy to defraud the government 
while employed at the St. Louis Ordnance 
Plant. With the indictments the grand 
jury submitted direct criticism of both the 
company and the Ordnance Department. 
After studying the voluminous documen- 
tary evidence, the jury concluded : 

1. That the then authorized system of in- 
spection and delivery to the United States 
Ordnance Department by the United States 
Cartridge Company was inefficient and 
highly conducive to the commission of the 
infractions for which true bills have been 

Maj. Gen. Thomas J. Hayes, Chief of 
the Industrial Service, 1 July 1942 to 30 
December 1944. 

2. That the system for acceptance of such 
ammunition on the part of the United 
States Ordnance Department was inefficient 
in a like manner as compared to the con- 
tractor and not equal to the task assigned. 

The jury went on to say that the circum- 
stances at the time "may or may not have 
extenuated the situation" and further ob- 
served that evidence submitted later showed 
that extensive improvements had been 
made in inspection procedure and super- 
vision. 69 

(i7 St. Louis Star-Times, January 18, 1943. Pear- 
son's exact statement is quoted in memorandum 
of Julius H. Amberg to USW, 18 January 1943, 
sub: St. Louis Ord Plant USW, Geographic. 

68 General Campbell's remarks were reported by 
all the St. Louis papers on 18 January 1943. 

r ' 9 The grand jury indictment was printed in all 
the St. Louis papers on 11 December 1943. Photo- 
stat copies are in History, St. Louis Ordnance 
Plant, Volume 100. An eleventh individual was 
indicted later. 



Trial, Acquittal, and Reform 

Trial of five of the indicted employees 
resulted in their acquittal in April 1944. 
During the trial three of the defendants 
admitted that they had passed cartridges 
without adequate inspection but con- 
tended that it was done on orders of their 
superiors. After acquittal of the first 
group, charges against the others were not 
pressed by the government. A civil suit 
filed against the U.S. Cartridge Company, 
under the False Claims Act, in December 
1943 dragged on for nearly ten years before 
it was finally settled. The company won 
its case in both the District Court and the 
Court of Appeals, and in 1953 the Su- 
preme Court refused to issue a writ of 
certiorari to bring the case before it. The 
government introduced voluminous evi- 
dence to show that the company had not 
maintained a satisfactory system of inspec- 
tion and that defective ammunition from 
the St, Louis plant had caused aircraft 
guns to jam in combat. In the opinion of 
the courts, the company had made every 
reasonable effort to maintain a satisfactory 
inspection system and could not be held 
liable for occasional unauthorized acts of 
a few employees. 70 

The facts of this case point to the 
conclusion that inspection practices at the 
St. Louis plant in late 1942 were neither 
wholly satisfactory nor as bad as the sen- 
sational newspaper charges suggested. 
Ordnance officers felt the plant was no 
better and no worse than other ammuni- 
tion plants, except, perhaps, in the field of 
employee relations. There was apparently 
considerable employee dissatisfaction, and 
Ordnance officers close to the scene felt 
that at least some of the inspection com- 
plaints came from disgruntled former em- 
ployees or from employees who did not 

fully understand the elaborate inspection 
system. Because inspection of ammunition 
was not a simple, cut-and-dried process 
but a long series of checks and rechecks 
employing many ingenious measuring and 
weighing devices, it was sometimes mis- 
understood or misinterpreted. Further, as 
the grand jury pointed out, there were 
extenuating circumstances. This huge 
plant was built and put into operation 
with great haste during a national emer- 
gency. The intense pressure to speed pro- 
duction in 1942 may have led some con- 
tractor employees on occasion to take short- 
cuts and push ammunition through with- 
out complying with every detail of the in- 
spection rules. It also appears that, no 
matter how faithfully inspection proce- 
dures were observed, they were not 
foolproof. They were inevitably subject to 
improvement in the light of experience 
gained during the first year of mass pro- 
duction. Combat experience in North 
Africa and Italy in 1942-43 revealed in- 
stances of jammed aircraft guns, including 
some cases when planes returned with all 
their guns jammed. But whether this re- 
sulted from faulty inspection at the plant 
or from rough handling that broke the 
watertight liners of packing boxes and 
caused corrosion was never positively de- 
termined. 71 

7e Memorandum opinion, United States of 
America us. The U.S. Cartridge Company, No. 
3486, District Court of U.S., Eastern District of 
Missouri, Eastern Division, 95 F. Supp. 384. See 
also U.S. Court of Appeals for Eighth Circuit, 
No. 14,389, United States of America vs. The 
U.S. Cartridge Company 198 456, files of 
OCO Legal Office. 

71 (1) SAA, I, pp. 339-4'5 (a) 95 F - Supp. 
391, op. cit; (3) Intervs during December 1953 
and January 1954 with many persons familiar 
with the case, including Maj Gen Thomas J. 
Hayes, Brig Gen Merle H. Davis, and Brig Gen 
David L. Van Syckle. 



Numerous changes were made in in- 
spection methods at the St. Louis plant 
immediately after the newspaper charges 
appeared, along with a similar tightening 
up at other plants. When, for example, 
controlled studies during 1943 showed that 
the existing sampling method allowed poor 
lots to pass inspection in too many cases, 
it was replaced by the double sampling 
procedure. 72 The need for improvement 
and standardization was officially recog- 
nized by the chief of the Small Arms 
Branch in May 1943 when he issued a 
new directive establishing revised proce- 
dures to "insure that the methods in use 
appear to be sound even to the uninitiated 
observer, the worker in the plant, or the 
qualified investigator examining the 
plant." 73 An intensive study of inspection 
methods at all plants was made during 
1943, prompted in part by the St. Louis 
episode; it resulted in a clarification of 
standards and publication of numerous 
manuals to guide inspectors. 74 

Maintenance of an adequate force of 
trained inspectors was always a problem. 
Salaries were low, and the work offered 
little room for advance, nent. Selective serv- 
ice took its share of the inspection staffs 
while pressure to economize on manpower 
led to widespread reduction of inspection 
forces. At one point, late in 1943, General 
Drewry declared flatly that, in trying to 
turn out "quality stuff," he was having 
some trouble. "I feel that this business of 
cutting too far is wrong and I don't 
propose to reduce our inspectors to the 
point where we can't guarantee a quality 
product. I just can't do it." 75 

Labor Problems 

The St. Louis plant encountered a good 
deal of difficulty in dealing with labor 

unions, and in training and employing both 
white and colored workers. Some Ord- 
nance officers felt that criticisms of em- 
ployment and inspection practices that 
arose during the war were motivated in 
large part by labor elements hostile to the 
U.S. Cartridge Company. The location of 
the plant in a border state and in a city 
with a large Negro population provided a 
natural setting for problems in race re- 

In 1941 both U.S. Cartridge and 
McQuay-Norris had not only to recruit 
thousands of workers but also to train 
them in the specialized jobs required in 
ammunition manufacture. Both companies 
started with a nucleus of their own trained 
workers and supervisors, recruited new 
employees, established training schools, 
and quickly built up large work forces. 
Frankford Arsenal trained many employees 
for this and other plants. By July 1943 
the entire St. Louis plant employed a total 
of forty-three thousand workers — thirty- 
five thousand by U.S. Cartridge and eight 
thousand by McQuay-Norris. The tight 
labor market of the early war years forced 
both companies to hire some workers who 
did not measure up even to the minimum 

12 (1) Hist, Denver Ord Plant, ist supp, pp. 
17-18; (2) Hist, Lake City Ord Plant, V, pp. 

73 Memo, Chief of SA Br, 4 May 43, cited in 
SAA, I, pp. 339-40. 

74 SAA, I, pp. 339-41. Comments on the value 
of the manual on visual inspection issued in 
March 1944 appear in History, Lake City Ord- 
nance Plant, VI, p. 117. A broad picture of the 
effort to improve inspection of all types of 
materiel during 1943 is presented in G. Rupert 
Gause, "Quality Through Inspection," Army Ord- 
nance, XXV, No. 139 (March-April 1943), 117, 
and ist Lt. Robert J. Saunders, "Standardized 
Inspection," Army Ordnance, XXIV, No. 137 
(March-April 1943), 290. 

75 Rpt of Conf Ord Dist Chiefs, Philadelphia, 
8 Oct 43, p. 23. 



standards of peacetime employment. Near- 
ly half the employees were women, many 
ol whom had no previous industrial ex- 
perience. To use such unskilled employees 
effectively, work was simplified as much as 
possible and new employees were given 
brief but intensive courses of instruction in 
the specific jobs assigned to them. 76 

In recruiting Negro workers the U.S. 
Cartridge Company, in common with other 
war plants in the area, adopted a policy of 
following the St. Louis population ratio of 
90 percent white and 10 percent Negro. 
During most of the war years the number 
of Negro workers at the plant averaged 
between 10 and 12 percent — between three 
thousand and four thousand — but there 
was no intermingling of the two races. All 
colored workers were assigned to one pro- 
duction unit, under a white superinten- 
dent. The other seven units were staffed 
entirely by white workers. In the colored 
unit every major craft was represented 
and Negroes held all positions up to and 
including general foremen. 77 

These practices led to a number of racial 
disputes during 1943 but did not come 
under strong attack until late 1943 and 
early 1944 when cutbacks in production 
schedules forced the company to lay off 
many of its workers. Charges were then 
made that, in selecting employees to be 
laid off, the company discriminated against 
Negroes. The President's Committee on 
Fair Employment Practices (FEPC) held 
hearings on these charges (and others 
brought against other St. Louis plants) 
during the first week in August. It dis- 
missed some of the complaints as ground- 
less but upheld others and on 29 Decem- 
ber 1944 ordered both the U.S. Cartridge 
Company and McQuay-Norris to abandon 
their quota systems and stop racial dis- 
crimination in hiring and firing workers. 

Referring to the cutbacks in the spring of 
1944 when the use of different seniority 
systems for white and colored workers 
sometimes had worked to the advantage of 
one race and sometimes to another, the 
FEPC declared: 

A racial quota system is equally as mis- 
chievous when used to select employees for 
layoffs as when applied with regard to their 
hire. Executive Order 9346 does not provide 
that Negroes or other minority groups shall 
be hired or retained in employment in ac- 
cordance with population ratios .... It is 
no defense to argue, as the respondent has 
done, that its quota system on certain oc- 
casions operated to the advantage of Negro 
employees and to the prejudice of white 
workers. The executive order forbids dis- 
crimination against white as well as against 
colored employees. 78 

By the time this decision was made the 
St. Louis plant had only about six months 
more of wartime operation ahead of it. 
Its notice to terminate came in June 1945. 
During this brief period the companies 
took steps to carry out the FEPC policy. 
They abandoned the quota system of hir- 
ing and attempted to recruit members of 
both races to work together on a non- 
segregated basis, but they encountered 
considerable difficulty in carrying out the 
program. Operation of the plant on an 
integrated or nonsegregated basis, and hir- 

7(i ( 1 ) Hist, St. Louis Ord Plant, vols. I-IX, 
OHF; (2) Ltr, Lt Col Carleton G. Chapman to 
TIG, 30 Nov 44, sub: Rpt of Spec inspection 
. . . of St. Louis Ord Plant, OO 333.1/ 1883 Misc 
(c) ; (3) SAA, I, p. 147. 

17 For comparison of operating efficiency, show- 
ing the colored unit to be much less efficient, see 
Ltr, Maj R. R. Porter to TIG, 14 Jul 45, sub: 
Spec Inspection of . . . St. Louis Ord Plant, 
OO 333.1/2323. 

78 St. Louis Post-Dispatch, December 29, 1944. 
Clippings from St. Louis newspapers of the 
period are in History, St. Louis Ordnance Plant, 
Volumes VI I I-IX, OHF. The records of these 
cases and others are in the National Archives. 



ing without regard to race, had to wait 
until the plant reopened in the early 
1950's. 79 

Conversion from Copper to Steel 

During 1 94 1 , as the copper shortage 
took definite shape on the horizon, Ord- 
nance launched a far-reaching program to 
conserve copper in all types of materiel, 
including small arms ammunition. There 
were two main lines of endeavor as far as 
small arms cartridges were concerned — 
substitution of clad steel for gilding metal 
in bullet jackets, and substitution of steel 
for brass in cartridge cases. The develop- 
ment of clad steel jackets progressed so 
rapidly that by the fall of 1942 production 
of the new type jackets was in full swing. 
But conversion to steel cartridge cases 
proved to be a much more difficult prob- 

Frankford Arsenal succeeded during 
1 94 1 and early 1942 in converting the 
.45-caliber case to steel, and by the sum- 
mer of 1942 the steel case went into 
production at the Evansville plant. After 
thorough testing, it was accepted as stand- 
ard in January 1943, the only small arms 
cartridge fully converted to steel in World 
War II. 80 Meanwhile, research on the .30- 
and .50-caliber cases encountered a host 
of technical problems, stemming in large 
part from the fact that steel is less elastic 
than brass. But the shortage of copper 
during 1942 forced continued efforts to 
develop acceptable steel cases. As soon as 
the new plants, built to make cases from 
brass, came into production they ran short 
of brass and had to begin the difficult 
task of converting their equipment and 
processing methods to the use of steel. To 
save time, development work was done on 
the production lines rather than in the 

laboratory. Then, just as success appeared 
to be within reach, the copper shortage 
eased, requirements dropped, and the 
whole steel conversion effort was discon- 
tinued except for experimental production 
lines at Frankford. 81 The progress made in 
producing steel cases was, in the words of 
General Hayes, "a miracle, but not a big 
enough miracle." 82 

Ammunition Belts 

As efficient operation of machine guns 
was impossible without belts or other de- 
vices to feed ammunition, a small but 
essential phase of Ordnance ammunition 
procurement dealt with production of am- 
munition belts, both fabric and metallic. 
Of these two types, metallic belt links were 
used chiefly in aircraft guns and fabric 
belts in ground weapons until the closing 
months of the war when metallic belt 
links were issued to ground troops. Though 
they appeared to be simple to manufacture, 
both types posed troublesome manufactur- 
ing problems. 

The principal producer of .30-caliber 
fabric belts for the U.S. Army in World 
War I was the Russell Manufacturing 
Company, which held a 19 16 patent on a 

70 ( 1 ) Interv with Ray Bryan, Ord representa- 
tive at St. Louis plant, and F. A. Lutz, Ch'ef 
Ammo Sec, SA Br, OCO, 12 Jan 54; (2) Ltr, 
Porter to TIG, 14 Jul 45, sub: Spec Inspection 
of . . . St. Louis Ord Plant, OO 333.1/2323 St. 
Louis Ord Plant. The file of FEPC records con- 
tains one brief letter from each company report- 
ing on its efforts to Comply with the ruling. 

HH OCM 19493, 14 Jan 43. A detailed state- 
ment of the Ordnance plans for meeting the 
copper shortage in the fall of 1942 appears in 
Memo, CofOrd for CG SOS, 10 Sep 42, sub: 
Copper for Ammo Manufacture, ExecO file. 

S1 For a more detailed account of this whole 
subject, see Green, Thomson, and Roots, Planning 
Munitions for H^qr JChapter XVlfTl 

s - Rpt of Conf Ord Dist Chiefs, Springfield, 
Mass., 28 Ju! 43, p. 7. 



.50-Caliber Machine Gun Ammunition 
by women in an ordnance arsenal. 

fabric belt. After the war this concern 
continued development work in co-opera- 
tion with Springfield Armory and in 1936 
was granted another patent on an im- 
proved belt design. Russell was the only 
source of fabric belts for the Army during 
the defense period, but in the fall of 1941, 
with requirements rising fast, Ordnance 
adopted a modified design to enable other 
producers to come into the picture without 
infringing the Russell patent. The need for 
this alternate design was eliminated after 
Pearl Harbor when Russell granted the 
government a royalty-free license for the 
duration of the emergency. By June 1942 
six facilities other than Russell were pro- 
ducing the 250-round infantry-type belt, 
but of the twenty-eight million belts manu- 
factured through May, 1944, when all pro- 
duction stopped for about eight months, 
Russell made slightly more than half. 

in Fabric Belts, being arranged for crating 

Meanwhile the temporary shortage of steel 
and of strip mill and furnace capacity in 
late 1942 prompted the adoption of .50- 
caliber fabric belts for aircraft guns. As 
Russell had previously made small quanti- 
ties of such belts for foreign sale it was in 
a position to start production promptly. 
Several other concerns also made fabric 
.50-caliber belts before the project was 
terminated in September 1943 because of 
the easing of the metals shortage and re- 
duction of ammunition requirements. Pro- 
duction of fabric belts for ground machine 
guns was resumed for a short time after 
the German breakthrough of December 
1944, but in 1945 fabric belts gradually 
gave way to steel links for infantry use. 83 

PSP 36, Machine Guns, Development and 
Production of Metallic Belt Links and Fabric 
Ammunition Belt, by SA Div, Ind Serv, OCO, 
Oct 45. 



To manufacturers, metallic belt links 
were deceptively simple in appearance. 
Each steel link consisted of three small 
loops, two on one side and one on the 
other. A belt of ammunition was formed 
by placing the single loops of one link 
between the two loops of the other and in- 
serting the cartridge through the three 
loops in much the same manner as one 
slides a bolt through the hinge of a screen 
door. Any number of links could be as- 
sembled in this manner to make a long 
belt of cartridges that had great flexibility 
and could be rolled and twisted to fit 
confined spaces in airplanes. 84 In addition, 
the belt links automatically fell apart as 
the cartridges that held them together 
were fired and ejected from the gun. Thus 
the origin of the term "disintegrating 
metallic belt links." Though simple in de- 
sign these metallic links demanded excep- 
tional accuracy in piercing, cutting, form- 
ing, and heat-treating to guarantee fault- 
less performance when used in aerial com- 
bat. If links were too hard they were likely 
to break under pressure, and if too soft 
they might stretch and cause stoppage of 
the weapon. If either too loose or too tight 
they would not function properly. As rust 
or corrosion on links would render them 
unfit for use, they had to be given a care- 
fully controlled rustproofing treatment be- 
fore being sent to the field. Rigid 
inspection was essential to guard against 
acceptance of a single link that might 
cause trouble, for it was literally true 
that an ammunition belt was only as strong 
as its weakest link. 

During the years of peace Rock Island 
Arsenal was the sole producer of links in 
the United States. As there was but a 
trickle of new ammunition produced each 
year the need for links was correspondingly 
small, but during 1940 Rock Island turned 

out about 50,000,000 .30-caliber links and 
about 15,000,000 .50-caliber. With re- 
quirements for aircraft ammunition on the 
rise, and with a shift toward the larger 
caliber taking place, Rock Island placed 
contracts with industry for .50-caliber 
links, beginning in June 1940 with the 
Fort Pitt Bedding Co. and three other 
concerns in 1941. Approximately 150,000,- 
000 were produced in 1941, three times 
the 1940 output. In the summer of 1941 
production of .30-caliber links began at 
Jackes Evans Manufacturing Company 
and General Aviation Equipment Com- 
pany. After Pearl Harbor, requirements 
for both sizes combined rose to eighteen 
billion for the 2-year period 1942-43. To 
meet these astronomical requirements a 
speedier production process was intro- 
duced, using a progressive multi-station die 
developed at Rock Island in the 1930's, 
and contracts for link production were 
placed with many different firms. To speed 
production and break bottlenecks a Metal- 
lic Belt Link Industry Integration Commit- 
tee was formed in the summer of 1942, and 
by September 1943 the monthly rate of 
production had reached more than half a 
billion. Thereafter requirements were re- 
duced with some contracts being termi- 
nated outright and others continued at 
greatly reduced rates. Early in 1945, after 
the Battle of the Bulge, there was a brief 
period of rising requirements followed by 
contract cancellation as the end of the 
war appeared in view. Total production of 
metallic links during the 1940-45 period 
reached close to thirteen billion. 85 

81 Green, Thomson, and Roots, Planning Mu- 
nitions for War, \p. 4.2b. | 

sr '(i) PSP 36, Machine Guns, Development 
and Prod of Metallic Belt Links and Fabric 
Ammo Belt; (a) Whiting, Statistics, p. 47; (3) 
Historical Data, Link, Metallic Belt, Cal. .50, Ms, 



Packing Boxes and Cans 

Packing small arms ammunition for 
overseas shipment was a troublesome prob- 
lem for Ordnance during World War II. 
The boxes used at the start of the war 
were essentially the same as those used in 
World War I — nailed wooden boxes lined 
with terneplate (tin-coated sheet steel). 
When soldered shut, the liners of the 
M1917 boxes provided a tight seal against 
dirt, water, or air unless broken by rough 
handling. They had served well in the 
1920's and 1930's but proved less suitable 
for the combat conditions encountered in 
World War II. Weighing one hundred 
pounds or more, they were too heavy for 
troops or native bearers to carry, and, 
when subjected to rough handling, the 
boxes or liners sometimes broke, resulting 
in dirty or corroded ammunition. 88 

Another difficulty with the M1917 pack 
was that it used scarce materials, particu- 
larly tin. Solder with a lower tin content 
was therefore prescribed for sealing the 
terneplate liners, and less tin was used in 
the liners themselves. Steel was substituted 
for brass in the nuts and bolts of the boxes, 
and zinc plating was used instead of cad- 
mium to plate the handles and other box 
hardware. At the same time, Ordnance 
engineers studied the possible replace- 
ment of terneplate liners with nonmetallic 
materials such as wax paper, asphalt 
paper, and plastic film. The most promis- 
ing substitute, waxed fiber board, was 
adopted in the summer of 1942, but it did 
not prove satisfactory and was abandoned 
a year later. 

In peacetime, most ammunition had 
been shipped in bulk pack, with troops in 

as manufactured by S.W. Farber, Inc., in Hist, 
New York Ord Dist, vol. 100, pt. 1. 

the field responsible for assembling cart- 
ridges into clips or machine gun belts. This 
procedure was soon changed as the using 
arms demanded that cartridges be put in 
so-called functional assemblies or ready-to- 
use packs. Another major change in pack- 
ing procedure occurred in the summer of 
1942 when responsibility for packing am- 
munition was transferred from Field Serv- 
ice depots to the manufacturing plants. 
The earlier practice had been for the plants 
to pack ammunition in cartons and ship it 
to depots where it was unpacked, assem- 
bled into clips, belts, or links, and then 

All during the first half of 1943 Ord- 
nance received frequent reports that the 
packing of cartridges in M1917 boxes was 
unsatisfactory, whether in waxed paper 
cartons or terneplate liners. The chief 
complaints were of corroded or broken 
links and dirty ammunition caused by 
broken boxes or ruptured liners, but the 
boxes were also criticized as too heavy and 
hard to handle in the field. Minor changes 
and improvements were made, but it was 
not until the closing months of the year 
that steps were taken to introduce a com- 
pletely new type of container. Under con- 
tract with Ordnance, the Chrysler Corpo- 
ration and the American Can Company 
developed a hermetically sealed can that 
could be opened with a key in the Same 
manner as a coffee can. The new pack, 
including an improved wooden box hold- 
ing two cans totaling about fifty pounds, 

Red of Army Ord Research and Development, 
vol. 2, bk. 2 — Small Arms Ammunition, ch. 18; 
(2) PSP 58, Packaging, Development of, in the 
Ordnance Department, by Prod Serv Div, Ind 
Serv, OCO, Jul 45; (3) Small Arms Ammunition, 
Highlights of History, 1 Jul 44-1 Apr 45, supp. 
Ill, by Ammo Br, SA Div, OHF; (4) History 
of Ordnance Section, Hq Sixth Army, 27 Jan 43- 
15 Dec 45, pp. 40-41. 



was standardized for .45-caliber and .30- 
caliber carbine ammunition early in 1944. 
It was extended to other calibers later in 
the year — too late to have any effect on 
the crucial Allied drive across France in 
the summer of 1 944. 87 

The best ready-to-use packs were the 
.30-caliber Mi box containing belted cart- 
ridges and the .50-caliber M2 box holding 
linked ammunition. These boxes were not 
only packing containers for storage and 
shipment but were also ammunition feed 
boxes and were cheap enough to be ex- 
pendable. Functional assemblies had such 
advantages that they were standardized, 
whenever possible, for future packing of 
ground ammunition. There was no need 
for packing aircraft ammunition in such 
assemblies, for it was removed from ship- 
ping containers and stowed aboard air- 
planes in special trays and feed boxes. 88 

Packing ammunition in the M2 boxes 
brought its share of problems. As the 
plants were not designed for this work it 
had to be squeezed into odd corners. One 
result was that in September 1943 nearly 
half the eight hundred thousand boxes 
packed developed leaks. As Colonel Boone 
Gross summed up the matter, "we had to 
go out and run a service program and buy 
new gaskets and then open up the boxes 
and test them 100%." 89 

Surpluses, Cutbacks, and Terminations 

As 1942 was a year of shortages, 1943 
was a year of surpluses. Production dur- 
ing the first half of 1943 was so great that, 
as General Harris had predicted early in 
1942, the Army had ammunition "running 
out of its ears." The pipelines were filled 
and the monthly production of two billion 
cartridges was creating a storage problem 
for Field Service. At both ends of the 

line — in the plants and on the battlefield 
— earlier estimates had proven wholly in- 
accurate. The plants were producing at a 
rate far higher than had been expected, 
and the mobile tank warfare in North 
Africa called for much smaller expenditure 
of rifle and machine gun ammunition than 
had been anticipated. 90 In August 1943 
the Procurement Review Board reported 
that the on-hand stock of small arms 
ammunition in the United States amounted 
to 2.5 billion rounds, with an addi- 
tional 1.4 billion rounds — nearly equal to 
the entire AEF expenditure in World War 
I — in reserve in North Africa. It observed 
that the Day of Supply figures were 
"excessively large," that ammunition plants 
were operating far below their capacity, 
and that reserves of ammunition were 
"tremendous" and would soon be "astro- 
nomical." The Board bluntly concluded 
that "the War Department must take 
steps to bring production of ammunition 
and stocks of ammunition into the realm 
of reality." 91 

87 (1) SA Ammo, Highlights of Hist; (a) Hist, 
Frankford Arsenal, SA Ammo Div, I, pt. 3, p. 
154; ( 3 ) Red of Army Ord Research and Devel- 
opment, vol. 2, bk. 2, ch. 18. 

88 SAA, I, pp. 335-38. For a detailed history 
of development of small arms ammunition packs, 
see Record of Army Ordnance Research and 
Development, Volume 2, Book 2. 

80 Rpt of Conf Ord Dist Chiefs, Philadelphia, 
8 Oct 43, p. 22. 

00 On reduction of the Day of Supply for small 
arms ammunition, see correspondence during Sep 
-Oct 43 in Rqmts Docs, folder, OHF. 

!)1 Rpt of WD Proc Review Bd, 31 Aug 4:5. 
Members of the Board were Maj. Gen. Frank R. 
McCoy, Maj. Gen. Clarence C. Williams (former 
Chief of Ordnance), Brig. Gen. William E. Gill- 
more, and Mr. J. Madigan. Sec also comments on 
the report by General Somervell in the same file, 
and remarks by Brig Gen James Kirk before Small 
Arms Ammunition Labor Advisory Committee, 10 
Jan 45, OHF. 



While the Procurement Review Board 
was at work a representative of the Bureau 
of the Budget surveyed the small arms am- 
munition plants and reached similar con- 
clusions. His report revealed that the exis- 
tence of excess plant capacity was exact- 
ing a heavy toll in terms of production 
costs because the plants were operating 
far below their capacity. The most signifi- 
cant factor in the cost of production at any 
plant was found not to be the managerial 
skill of the contractor or the supervision 
by Ordnance representatives but the 
percentage of maximum capacity at which 
the plant operated. Efficiency rose and 
costs declined when a plant produced near 
its peak; the trends were reversed when 
the plant operated at a low level. The re- 
port recommended that five plants — Alle- 
gany, Eau Claire, Denver, Lake City, and 
Lowell — be shut down and that adjust- 
ments be made at the remaining plants 
to provide needed production. 92 

Before either of these reports was made, 
the process of reducing requirements and 
slowing down production had begun. 
Over-all requirements for small arms am- 
munition (1943-44 combined) dropped 
from the 1943 peak of about fifty billion 
in February to approximately thirty-six 
billion in September. 93 During the sum- 
mer of 1943 Frankford eliminated its sec- 
ond and third shifts and returned to its 
traditional role of laboratory for develop- 
ment of improved ammunition and produc- 
tion techniques. In the closing months of 
the year six plants were shut down — 
Allegany, Utah, Eau Claire, Milwaukee, 
Lowell, and Scioto — -and production rates 
were cut by one -third at most of the 
others. When ammunition production 
stopped, the plants were promptly con- 
verted to other war uses, and the machin- 
ery was transferred for use elsewhere, put 

in storage, or sold as scrap. Frankford 
Arsenal collected a great deal of technical 
information from every closed plant — re- 
ports of experiments, floor layouts, produc- 
tion processes, and related material. 

Early in 1944 when ASF reduced re- 
quirements again, three more plants closed 
— Denver, Evansville^ and Kings Mills — 
leaving only four of the original twelve 
plants in operation. At two of the remain- 
ing plants — St. Louis and Twin Cities 
— several buildings were converted to artil- 
lery ammunition manufacture. At the same 
time production of bullet cores at commer- 
cial plants stopped almost completely, and 
deep cuts were made in the schedules of 
the privately owned plants of the Reming- 
ton and Winchester companies in Connect- 
icut. Production of all types of small 
caliber ammunition dropped from nearly 
20 billion in 1943 to 6.5 billion in 1944. 94 
The effect of the 1943-44 reductions is 

°~ (1) General Report on Production of Small 
Arms Ammunition, 16 Oct 43, War Projects Unit, 
Bureau of Budget; (a) Supplemental Report to 
the foregoing, 30 Oct 43, both in OHF. In 1942 
Ordnance was directed to keep plants in opera- 
tion part-time, rather than close them down, 
though it was recognized that some waste and 
inefficiency resulted. Review of Prod Plants, 20 
July 1942. 

y;l Supp. Rpt, 30 Oct 43, Bur of Budget. See 
also Munitions Assignments Board in Washington, 
Caliber .50 Ammo Program, 12 Oct 43, ASF 
Ping Div Theater Br, Box 389, 471 Ammunition, 
vol. I, N.A. 

94 Detailed information on all these actions is 
recorded in the reports of a board appointed by 
the Chief of Ordnance to review recommenda- 
tions of the operating branches of the Industrial 
Division, by SO 265, par. 59, 5 Nov 42. See 
OO 334 (8150-8250). See also Interim Report on 
Small Arms Ammunition, 26 Dec 44, Bureau of 
Budget and comments on this report by General 
Kirk. On the private plants, see Memo of Clay 
for Charles E. Wilson, 25 Feb 44, OO 471.4/2568 
Incl 2. Procurement deliveries of small arms am- 
munition in 1944 were valued at $649,600,000 as 
compared to $1,522,000,000 in 1943. 



shown in the following tabulation of month- 
ly production figures for combat types: 95 

July IQ43 January 1944 July 1944 

Cal. .30 - 903,000,000 513,000,000 172,000,000 

Cal. .50 - 455,000,000 210,000,000 168,000,000 
Cal. .45 and 

carbine- 433,000,000 310,000,000 51,000,000 

With the termination notices that went 
out in November and December 1943 the 
Chief of Ordnance sent a letter to each 
plant explaining the reasons for the action. 
These letters were placed on employee 
bulletin boards and published in local 
newspapers. They cited four factors that 
made it possible to reduce operations — 
the high rate of production attained by the 
plants, the virtual elimination of the sub- 
marine menace, the effectiveness of .50- 
caliber incendiary ammunition in down- 
ing enemy planes, and the Japanese 
evacuation of Kiska without a fight. Gen- 
eral Campbell made it clear that the war 
was far from over but explained that the 
War Department had ordered the reduc- 
tions because the worst phase of the am- 
munition crisis had passed. 96 He might also 
have added that the War Department had 
decided, in view of the huge stocks on 
hand, to depend on reopening closed 
plants to meet any emergency that might 
arise in the future. 

Despite these efforts to explain the sit- 
uation the announcement of cutbacks 
brought sharp criticism from organized 
labor, particularly the United Electrical, 
Radio, and Machine Workers of America, 
a CIO affiliate. In February 1944 the 
union charged that, in selecting plants to 
be cut back, the military authorities "are 
violating all considerations of national 
manpower allocation, are closing down the 
most efficient and maintaining in operation 

the least efficient small arms ammunition 
plants, and are closing the plants most 
favorably located from the standpoint of 
military security." 97 In reply, Under Sec- 
retary Patterson expressed regret that 
more advance notice had not been given 
to plant management and workers but 
declared that the Army, far from overlook- 
ing manpower, had made it "the dominat- 
ing factor in our decisions." He defended 
the retention of small-scale production at 
the privately owned Remington and Win- 
chester plants in Connecticut on the 
ground that these plants "are an integral 
part of the Nation's establishment avail- 
able for the maintenance and continued 
development of the small arms ammunition 
art." In selecting plants to be retained, 
Patterson pointed out, the Army con- 
sidered the kind of ammunition manu- 
factured by each and retained only capac- 
ity needed to meet specific requirements. 
The Army's explanation did not minimize 
the effect on labor of the 1943-44 cut- 
backs. 98 The small arms ammunition 
plants in operation in the fall of 1944 
employed only one-fourth the number 
employed in July 1943 when all plants 
were in production and nearly 170,000 
were at work. 

Along with the vertical drop in total 
requirements there were several significant 
lateral shifts as some types decreased in 
importance and others gained. The one 

85 Remarks by Brig Gen James Kirk before SA 
Ammo Labor Advisory Comm., 10 Jan 45, on the 
tg45 Small Arms Ammunition Program, OHF. 

9n Ltr, CofOrd for CO Milwaukee Ord Plant, 
1 r Nov 43, copy in History, Milwaukee Ordnance 
Plant, vol. V, p. 56. 

97 Ltr, United Electrical, Radio and Machine 
Workers of America (signed by Russ Nixon) to 
Wilson, WPB, 21 Feb 44, OO 471.4/1851 (c). 

» K Ltr, USW to Nixon, 27 Feb 44, OO 471-4/ 
1851 (c). 



most important shift, in terms of quanti- 
ties, was the decline in .30-caliber machine 
gun ammunition and the rise in .50-cali- 
ber. Early combat experience showed that 
the smaller cartridge was far less effective, 
particularly against airplanes, than was the 
.50-caliber. This shift was accompanied by 
a rise in the demand for armor-piercing 
cartridges for both .30- and .50-caliber 
and for the .50-caliber incendiary cart- 
ridge. A newer type, the armor-piercing- 
incendiary for .50-caliber, came into 
production in 1943 and in 1944 accounted 
for more than half the total .50-caliber 
output. An even more complicated round, 
the .50-caliber armor-piercing-incendiary- 
tracer, came into production in 1944-45. 
Production of incendiary and AP cart- 
ridges was far more difficult than 
production of ball ammunition and created 
heavy new demands for machines, furn- 
aces, and tools. The new types also had 
to undergo continuous testing to determine 
their performance under extremes of heat, 
cold, and humidity, and to check their 
stability in storage. Less difficult to man- 
ufacture was the .30-caliber carbine that 
entered the picture in 1942 and largely 
supplanted the .45-caliber pistol cartridge, 
though .45-caliber ammunition for the sub- 
machine gun continued unchanged. In 
1944 a new type of smokeless powder 
— called ball powder because its grains 
were spherical — was adopted for carbine 
ammunition. A development of Western 
Cartridge Company, it could be manu- 
factured much faster than ordinary pow- 
der. The largest small arms cartridge pro- 
duced in World War II was the 
experimental .60-caliber of which six 
million were manufactured in 1944-45." 

The downward trend of requirements 
was temporarily reversed a few months 
following the long-awaited invasion of 

western Europe in June 1944. After two 
and a half years of building up stocks and 
using comparatively little small arms am- 
munition in combat, the Allied armies 
launched the climactic campaign of the 
war and began firing tremendous quanti- 
ties of ammunition. In the single month of 
September 1944 the U.S. ground forces 
used nearly three-fourths as much small 
arms ammunition as the AEF expended 
in battle during the whole year 19 18. The 
huge stocks rapidly dwindled, and in De- 
cember 1944, when large quantities were 
lost in the German offensive, they fell 
below authorized levels in the European 
theater. 100 Further, much of the ammu- 
nition that had been shipped to overseas 
theaters in 1942 and 1943 was not avail- 
able or not usable in late 1944 and early 
1945. Lack of transportation, manpower, 
and handling facilities at Pacific Island 
bases sometimes made it impossible to re- 
trieve leftover ammunition, and great 
quantities had deteriorated. In explaining 
the need for new production General Kirk 

Ammunition is a perishable commodity. 
The powder and the primer cap contain 
delicate chemical compounds. If the ammu- 
nition is exposed for considerable periods of 
time to hot weather, the chemical compounds 
will tend to change. The result is that the 
powder becomes less powerful. The primer 
is less sensitive and more likely to hang fire. 
If moisture gets into the inner package the 
brass will corrode. . . . Ammunition stored 
under good conditions of care for as little as 
two years in the tropics becomes questionable 

09 The most concise data on this subject ap- 
pears in Whiting, Statistics, Procurement, p. 51. 
For Western ball powder, see Army Ordnance, 
XXVI, No. 14a (January-February, 1944), 126 

100 Ammunition supply for European and Medi- 
terranean Theaters, p. 3, ASF Contl Div, 15 Aug 
45, OHF. 



for issue in combat. . . . Much of the am- 
munition which was manufactured in 1943 
and shipped overseas has had to be stored 
under conditions which are far from ideal. 
. . . The point is that we may expect that 
sizeable quantities of ammunition now over- 
seas will have to be replaced with new am- 
munition. We will not risk American lives 
with questionable cartridges. 101 

By the end of October 1944 supply- 
control studies revealed greatly increased 
requirements for the year ahead, particu- 
larly for ground force weapons such as the 
rifle, submachine gun, and carbine. Ord- 
nance promptly forwarded the new figures 
to ASF, asked for instructions, and com- 
mented that it considered the situation 
"one of the most serious facing the Army 
Service Forces." 102 There was no actual 
shortage in the theaters but General 
Campbell predicted that, if production 
were not speeded up at once, shortages 
would develop in the spring of 1945. 
ASF immediately issued a directive doubl- 
ing the 1945 requirements for certain 
types. In contrast to actual production of 
about 6.5 billion rounds in 1944, the 
program for 1945 called for 12.4 billion. 
Schedules for the first half of 1945 called 
for a 50 percent increase over output dur- 
ing the last six months of 1944. None of 
the closed plants was to be reconverted 
to ammunition production, but the Toledo 
Core Plant, then in standby condition, 
was returned to full production. The new 
schedules were met by doubling the output 
for the four existing GOCO plants — St. 
Louis, Lake Gity, Des Moines, Twin Cities 
— plus Frankford and three plants owned 
by commercial producers — Winchester, 
Remington, and Western. In Canada the 
Dominion Arsenal and Defense Industries, 
Ltd., were brought into the picture. Ca- 
pacity for producing brass strip was more 
than doubled and, to relieve the critical 

shortage of AP cores, a contract for their 
manufacture was placed in Canada with 
the York Arsenal. 103 

In March 1945, just as the accelerated 
program was getting into high gear, the 
production goals were cut by about 20 
percent in view of the imminent defeat of 
Germany. In May, after the actual sur- 
render, the program was further reduced. 
Two GOCO plants, St. Louis and Des 
Moines, were given termination notices in 
June and production at Winchester was 
discontinued. When the Japanese surren- 
der was announced on 14 August produc- 
tion stopped at all plants except Lake 
City, where the .60-caliber line continued 
for two weeks, and Frankford Arsenal, 
where experimental types were being pro- 
duced. Then began the tedious process of 
decontaminating equipment, preparing it 
for storage or sale, making final payments 
to contractors, and closing the books on 
all the plants. Soon Frankford Arsenal was 
once again the only producer of military 
ammunition in the United States. The 
Lake City and Twin Cities plants, with all 
their machinery and reserve stocks and 
with equipment from two core plants, were 
prepared for long-time storage and re- 
tained as reserves for the future. 104 

101 Remarks by Kirk, 10 Jan 45, op. cit. 

102 Memo, CofOrd for CG ASF, 21 Nov 44, 
sub: Prod Rqmts for SA Ammo, OO 47 1.4/227 1 
(c). A detailed summary of theater stocks at the 
end of November 1944 appears in Incl to Memo, 
Director of Plans and Operations, ASF for Cof- 
Ord, 12 Jan 45, sub: SA Ammo Stocks, OO 

103 ( 1 } SA Ammo, Highlights of Hist, 1 Jul 44- 
1 Apr 45, pp. 3-4; (2) Hiland G. Batcheller, 
Progress on Critical Programs, a Report to the 
WPB, :a Dec 44, p. 35, WPB Doc. 317, WPB 
210.3R, NA. 

10 4 (1) SA Ammo, Highlights of Hist, 1 Jul 
44-1 Apr 45; (2) First Quarterly Report for FY 
1946, SA Div, 1 Nov 45. These two reports are 
supplements to Small Arms Ammunition and are 
in OHF. 


Preparation for Tanks 
and Other Fighting Vehicles 

More than any other weapon of land 
warfare, the tank in World War II cap- 
tured the imagination of soldier and 
civilian alike. Its roaring motors, inscruta- 
ble armor, and smoking guns added a 
new and terrifying element to the already 
grim life of the battlefield. It symbolized 
for the ground forces, as did the sleek 
bombing plane for the air forces, the revo- 
lution in warfare that had sprung from 
the union of military need with industry 
and technology. It was, by any standard 
of comparison, one of the most important 
weapons of the war. 

But for Ordnance the tank was the 
source of more trouble and more criticism 
than any other item of equipment. Ord- 
nance-procured small arms, artillery, and 
ammunition were generally praised, as 
were trucks and other transport vehicles, 
but all during the war American tanks 
were the objects of sharp verbal attacks. 
Army spokesmen, eager to build up public 
confidence, asserted time after time that 
U.S. tanks were superior to anything the 
enemy could produce. General Wesson 
and General Campbell strongly defended 
them against all criticism, and cited lauda- 
tory letters from combat commanders to 
prove the point. 1 But the secret reports on 
tank performance submitted by overseas 
commanders (both British and American) 

and the Armored Force Board told a 
somewhat different story. Along with fre- 
quent words of praise came many com- 
plaints, 2 ranging from the lack of good 
binoculars for tank commanders to the 
inferiority of U.S. tank guns and armor 
to the German guns and armor pitted 
against them. Unofficial observers were 
quick to take up critical comments from 
tank men returned from combat, some- 
times to the neglect of less newsworthy 
praise for U.S. tanks. Why, it was asked, 
could not the United States, with its un- 
rivaled industrial capacity for making cars 
and trucks of all kinds, produce better 
tanks than Germany? In particular, why 

1 Compare comments on these "testimonials" of 
combat commanders in Hugh M. Cole, The 
Lorraine Campaign, UNITED STATES ARMY 
IN WORLD WAR II (Washington, 1950), p. 
604, and in "Our Tanks Are Without Equal," an 
editorial in Army Ordnance, XXVIII, No. 149 
(March-April 1945), 265. For a typical example 
of Ordnance claims to tank superiority, see ad- 
dress by Maj Gen Gladeon M. Barnes, 19 Oct 
44, Cleveland, Ohio. 

,J A notable example of praise is "Our Tanks 
Meet the Test," by Maj, Gen. Charles I_. Scott, 
Army Ordnance, XXIV, No. 136 (January- 
February 1943), 67ff. Compare with 13-page 
Memo of complaints written by Maj S. B. Tatom, 
Hq Armored Force, to Col Morris K. Barroll, Jr., 
25 May 1943, sub: Final Rpt on Accelerated 
Tests of 40 M4 Series Tanks, Gen. Christmas 
file, 451.3/M. 



did the U.S. Army have no heavy tank 
to match the German Tiger? By 1945 the 
chorus of criticism reached a point where 
leading American newspapers were calling 
for a Congressional investigation of "a 
situation that does no credit to the War 
Department." 8 

Meanwhile in both England and Ger- 
many there were similar complaints. A 
Parliamentary committee roundly criti- 
cized the Churchill government in 1942 
for failing to develop a tank that could 
hold its own on the batdefield and for 
losing precious time in getting production 
started. At the end of the war, when the 
government's white paper on tanks ap- 
peared, The Times of London observed 
editorially that, "If there was not a 'tank 
scandal,' there was certainly a good deal 
of tank muddle." * In Germany, where 
public criticism was less freely expressed, 
there was considerable dissatisfaction with 
both designers and producers. When Ger- 
man medium tanks encountered the Soviet 
T-34 in late 1941 the results were disas- 
trous for the Nazi legions. Hider personally 
ordered his designers to come up with a 
superior heavy tank at once and directed 
his production ministry to build it in 
hitherto unheard of quantities. 5 

The problems encountered in British, 
German, and American tank production 
stemmed chiefly from the fact that, at 
the start of World. War II, the tank was 
essentially a new weapon with still un- 
tested tactical potentialities. Further, it 
was an enormously complicated machine, 
difficult to design and difficult to produce. 
The design phase has been described in 
some detail in the preceding^ volume of this 
series. 8 Here we are concerned less with 
design than with production, but it must 
be recognized that there is no sharp divid- 
ing line between the two processes. Design 

changes were constantly intruding into 
the manufacturing area, to the dismay of 
production engineers, and production 
techniques were always a limiting factor 
in design. The only satisfactory approach 
to the task of understanding the World 
War II tank experience lies in reviewing 
the two separate but intertwined threads 
of design and production from the late 
i93o's to the end of the war. 

Early Plans and Preparations 

Production of guns and ammunition 
rested on a solid foundation of more than 
a century of development and use, but 
production of tanks in World War II was 
based on twenty years of neglect. A few 
American tanks had been built in 191 8 
but none saw action in World War I. 
The Mark VlII's assembled at Rock Island 
Arsenal after the war were crude speci- 
mens with a top speed of only five miles an 
hour. All during the next two decades 
there was no real production, only the 
building of hand-tooled test models, some 
described as capable of "bursts of speed 

3 Hanson Baldwin in New York Times January 
5, 1945, quoted in Green, T homson, and Roots, 
Planning Munitions for War, \ ch, XI For a strik- 
ing example of journalistic criticism and Army 
caution, see "American Locomotive," Fortune 
(February 1942), pp. 79fT. The views of some 
Army Ground Force officers appear in two histor- 
ical studies: AGF Study No. 27, The Armored 
Force, Command and Center, dated 1946, and 
AGF Study No. 34, The Role of the AGF in the 
Development of Equipment, dated 1946. 

* The Times, London, July 16, 1946. For a 
brief account of the deficiencies of British tanks, 
see Postan, British War Production, pp. 183-95. 

5 U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey (USSBS ), 
Tank Industry Report, 2d edition, Jan 47, 

n Green, Th omson, and Roots, Planning Mu- 
nitions for War \ ch. X. | 



up to 1 8 miles an hour." 7 From 1920 to 
1935 no more than thirty-five tanks were 
built, every one a different model. The es- 
sence of mass production — acceptance of 
design and its exact reproduction in vol- 
ume — was altogether lacking. Not until 
1935-36 when sixteen medium tanks were 
made at Rock Island Arsenal was more 
than one tank of any specific model pro- 
duced. 8 In England the situation was much 
the same. One recorder of British tank 
history described the events of the 1930's 
as follows: 

In 193 1 a medium tank of superior design 
was issued, but the great depression and 
pacifist agitation on top of it prevented 
large-scale production. When this was finally 
decided in 1936 the tank proved to be out 
of date. There was debate and debate . . . 
and the tank has yet [1938] to reach the 
men. 9 

In the War Department plans of the 
1930 s, tanks were not very important. 
Army tacticians were not planning to use 
hundreds of hard-hitting, fast-moving 
tanks to spearhead lightning attacks. The 
Tank Corps of World War I had long 
since been abolished and control of tanks 
placed with the Infantry, which held arma- 
ment down to machine guns, limited 
armor thickness to about one inch, and 
gave priority to small, light tanks. 10 Re- 
flecting this attitude, Ordnance had no 
Tank Division, made no plans for wartime 
procurement of tens of thousands of tanks, 
and confined its development work to light 
tanks. The unit responsible for fighting 
vehicles was, until 1941, an appendage of 
the Artillery Division. Test models built at 
Rock Island were only a small part of that 
arsenal's over-all responsibility, which em- 
braced tractors, armored cars, gun mounts, 
and recoil mechanisms. It is no exagger- 
ation to say that, before 1940, tank pro- 

curement was but a drop in the Ordnance 
bucket. 11 

In the educational orders program of 
1939-40, tanks were given scant atten- 
tion. As the using arms had not adopted 
a clear statement of desired tank character- 
istics, nor assigned tanks a high priority, 
Ordnance did not consider it advisable to 
attempt much by way. of educating indus- 
try in their manufacture. Further, the cost 
of tanks — between $25,000 and $50,000 
each — was so high, and the funds for 
educational orders so limited, that a big 
program could not be considered. In con- 
trast to the dozens of educational orders 

7 Hist, Rock Island Arsenal, I (1919-39), p. 63. 
See also The Development of Combat Vehicles, 
a manuscript prepared in Oct 43 by Samuel H. 
Woods, chief engineer, Automotive Division, APG, 
and Evolution of American and German Medium 
Tanks by Lt. Col. Robert J. Icks, 20 Jan 43, 
both in QHF. Descriptions of the Mark VIII and 
other early vehicles may be found in Ralph E. 
Jones, George H. Rarey, and Robert J. Icks, The 
Fighting Tanks Since 1916 (Washington: Na- 
tional Service Publishing Company, 1933). 

" ( 1 ) Hist, Rock Island Arsenal, I (1919-39). 
pp. 61-66; (2) Campbell, The Industry-Ordnance 
Team, pp. 220-21. In the mid-iggo's, Major 
Campbell, later to become wartime Chief of Ord- 
nance, was in charge of manufacturing at Rock 
Island Arsenal. 

" Maj. Eric W. Sheppard, Tanks in the Next 
War (London: G. Bles, 1938), pp. 77-8o. 

"' In France, Italy, Russia, and Japan the same 
trend was followed. See Richard M. Ogorkiewicz, 
"The Ten Ages of Tank," Armor, LXI, No. 3 
(1952), to-18. Up to 1938 it was not much d ; f- 
ferent in Germany. Only light tanks were built be- 
fore that date, and not in large quantities. 
USSBS, Tank Industry Rpt, 2d edition, Jan 47. 

1 1 ( 1 ) Green, T homson, a nd Roots, Planning 
Munitions for War, \ ch. VII j (2) Campbell, op. 
cit., ch. 14; (3) Combat Vehicles 1940-45, MS 
study prepared by Daniel Chase, 3 1 Dec 45, OHF ; 
(4) Hist, Rock Island Arsenal, I, pp. 6 [-66. In 
the 1930's the automotive section consisted of five 
officers, headed by Maj. John K. Christmas and 
including Capt. Emerson L, Cummings who later 
became Chief of Ordnance. Similar neglect of 
tank work in England is described in Postan, op. 
cit., p. 7 and pp. 188-89. 



placed for forging and machining artillery 
shells, and for making rifles, recoil mechan- 
isms, and fire control instruments, only 
two small educational orders were placed 
for tanks. One went to the Van Dorn Iron 
Works for light tank hulls and the other 
to the Baldwin Locomotive Works for ten 
light tanks (M2A4). Design changes and 
slow deliveries of machine tools and armor 
plate, coupled with higher priority for me- 
dium tank orders, delayed the start of 
production at the Baldwin plant until after 
Pearl Harbor. In terms of production pre- 
paredness, the two orders brought no 
significant results. 12 

In time of emergency, Ordnance planned 
to place its tank contracts with firms that 
built railway equipment. Firms experi- 
enced in handling heavy rolling stock and 
in fabricating and assembling big steel 
components — such as American Car and 
Foundry, American Locomotive, and Bald- 
win — were considered the most suitable 
contractors. Further, because of the de- 
pressed state of the railroad industry, 
these companies were not very busy. Pro- 
duction plans provided that these firms 
were to make hulls, turrets, and numerous 
other parts, but major assemblies such as 
engines, transmissions, and guns were to be 
made elsewhere and shipped to the loco- 
motive plants as "government free issue." 

The first tank order of the World War 
II period illustrates the nature of the pro- 
curement plans and manufacturing pro- 
cedures. It was a fixed-price contract for 
329 light tanks, M2A4, awarded by Rock 
Island through competitive bidding to the 
American Car and Foundry Company 
(ACF) in early October 1939 — the first 
American tank order placed with industry 
in twenty years. 13 ACF engineers immedi- 
ately set to work checking more than 
2,000 blueprints and placing orders for 

parts and materials. The 12-ton M2A4 
required more than 2,806 different kinds 
of parts, totaling over 14,000 individual 
pieces — not counting engines or accessor- 
ies. The aircraft type engine used in the 
light tank was made by Continental 
Motors. When ACF found that steel mills 
were unable to supply in time the type 
of armor plate required, it installed heat- 
treating furnaces to make its own face- 
hardened plate. The company delivered its 
first tank to Ordnance in April 1940, well 
ahead of schedule, and completed the 
entire order (meanwhile increased to 365) 
in March 1941. 14 

The most serious problem in the early 
stages of light tank production was change 
of design. As early as the spring of 1940, 
for example, the need for heavier armor 
plate was revealed by reports from the war 
in Europe, and the added weight required 
a stronger suspension system. In July 1940 
a much improved light tank, known offi- 
cially as the M3 and unofficially as the 

12 (1) Educational Orders folder, OHF; {2) 
Telcon with Brig Gen Burton O. Lewis (Ret. ) , 
8 Mar 54; (3) Hist, Phila Ord Dist, vol. I, pt. 
8, History of Eddystone Sub-Office. 

1 3 For a first-hand account, see "Light Tanks" 
by Charles J. Hardy, president of ACF, in Army 
Ordnance, XXII, No. [30 (January-February 
1942), 568-69. See also PSP on Production 
Planning, OCO-Detroit, 16 Jun 45, dr. P4336, 
OCO-D files. 

14 (1) F. A. Stevenson (Vice President ACF), 
"Mass Production of Combat Tanks," Army Ord- 
nance, XXI, No. 125 (March-April 1941), 485; 
(2) Hist, Rock Island Arsenal, II, ch. 5; (3) 
Hist, Phila Ord Dist, I, pt. 1, Contractor .Histor- 
ies, OHF; (4) Chase, Combat Vehicles 1940-45, 
p. 27 and pp. 47-48; (5) OCO-D History, En- 
gineering and Manufacturing Division, vol. 7, pt. 
1; (6) American Car and Foundry Co., The 
Armed Forces of ACF. For detailed characteris- 
tics, sec Catalog of Standard Ordnance Items, 
Volume 1, Tank and Automotive Vehicles, OHF. 
For problems in administering the contract, see 
History, Philadelphia Ordnance District, I, pt. 7, 
Tank and Combat Vehicle Br, OHF. 



General Stuart, was adopted, and orders 
for it went to American Car and Foundry. 
During the next twelve months the 7- 
sided riveted turret of the early model took 
on a rounded shape ; welding took the place 
of riveting; a power traverse for the tur- 
ret was added; armor thickness was in- 
creased; and a gyrostabilizer was installed 
to steady the 37-mm. gun while the tank 
was in motion. ACF received a steady 
stream of engineering change orders during 
1940 and 1 94 1, and, as the contract was 
of the fixed-price type, nearly every change 
required a change in the contract price. 10 
When the new model (M3A1) was 
adopted in August 1941, ACF was directed 
to switch over to its production as soon as 
possible. In 1942 the M3A3 appeared with 
an all-welded hull, sloping frontal armor, 
and an improved radio compartment, but 
it was soon replaced by the M5. 18 This 
model, using two Cadillac engines and two 
automatic transmissions, required count- 
less revisions in drawings and specifica- 
tions. All these design changes added up 
to a steady trend of improvement, but they 
complicated the procurement task im- 
measurably and made field maintenance 
and spare parts supply extremely difficult. 
The process required balancing the value 
of each proposed improvement in battle- 
field performance against the delay it 
would cause in getting tanks to the troops. 
It was the eternal conflict that Under 
Secretary Patterson had in mind when he 
declared, "The best is the enemy of the 
good." 17 

While production of light tanks was 
getting under way, manufacture of me- 
dium tanks proceeded slowly at Rock 
Island Arsenal. After building 18 M2's in 
fiscal year 1939, Rock Island began work 
on an order for 126 mediums of improved 
design, M2A1. But in 1940, when much 

larger orders were being considered, Ord- 
nance opposed further production of this 
model and urged adoption of a more 
powerful tank with a 75-mm. gun and 
heavier armor. As a result, the Army had 
on hand in May 1940, when the German 
Army launched its invasion of western 
Europe, only 28 new tanks — 18 medium 
and 10 light — and they were soon to be- 
come obsolete, along with some 900 older 
models in stock. 18 Even more serious was 
industry's lack of experience in tank man- 
ufacture, and limited production facilities. 

The Ubswing in ig^o 

In mid- June 1940, Col. Alexander G. 
Gillespie of the Artillery Division reported 
to General Charles Harris that plans for 
tank production during the coming fiscal 
year were well in hand. Requirements for 
light tanks stood at 405. As American Car 
and Foundry was building this tank at 
the rate of one per day, no trouble was 
anticipated in getting production on the 
1 94 1 requirements. The medium tank pro- 
gram was much larger — 1,741 to be built 
in eighteen months — but no difficulty was 
expected with it as both American Loco- 
motive and Baldwin Locomotive had un- 

1 5 For details, see Hist, Phila Ord Dist, I, pt. 
7, PP- 1 15-ao. 

ls Originally designated M4 but changed to M5 
to avoid confusion with the M4 medium tank. 
The M3A2 never went into production. Hist, 
Engr and Mfg Div, OCO-D, Tank and Combat 
Vehicle Sec. See also Daniel Chase, The Design, 
Development and Production of Tanks in World 
War II, 15 Auk 44, OHF. 

17 See lch. I I II above. 

18 (1) Statement of Gen George C. Marshall, 
Army CofS, before S, Appropriations Comm., aa 
May 40, summarized in Army Ordnance, XXI, 
No. m (July-August 1940), 15; (a) Munitions 
Program of 30 June 1940 (corrected as of July 
34, 1940) in ASF Contl Div, dr G43. 



used capacity and were going to submit 
bids. Gasoline engines for these tanks were 
to be supplied by the Wright Aeronautical 
Corporaton and diesel engines by the Gui- 
berson Diesel Engine Company. 19 But 
while Colonel Gillespie was writing his re- 
port, events at home and abroad were 
forcing a reconsideration of the whole 
tank program. 

In May and June of 1940 the German 
Army, led by light and medium tanks and 
dive bombers, defeated the Belgian Army, 
drove the British Expeditionary Force 
from the Continent, and overwhelmed 
French resistance. In this blitzkrieg cam- 
paign, the Germans did not use heavy 
tanks, nor did they throw great numbers 
of tanks into the battle, but they employed 
their well-trained armored forces with 
great skill. 2<> Their highly mobile attacking 
units won a decisive victory over immobile 
defenses, and brought tanks into a new 
position of prominence in military thinking. 
At the end of June a British tank com- 
mission arrived in the United States with 
plans to procure thousands of tanks from 
American factories as soon as possible. 21 
On 10 July 1940 the U.S. Army an- 
nounced creation of a separate Armored 
Force, thus ending the Infantry's 20-year 
control of tank doctrine and formally rec- 
ognizing the fast-growing importance of 
tanks in warfare. With adoption of the 
Munitions Program of 30 June 1940 the 
War Department began to plan in earnest 
for mass production of all weapons, in- 
cluding thousands of tanks. 22 

As early as the first week in June, 
William S. Knudsen, newly appointed 
member of the National Defense Advisory 
Commission (NDAC), had looked over 
the Ordnance tank production plans and 
concluded they were totally inadequate 
for the big job that he saw ahead. Con- 

vinced that the locomotive companies, 
which normally built a few specially de- 
signed locomotives each year, would 
never be able to meet the emergency 
demand for high-speed tank production, 
he decided to bring the Detroit automobile 
industry into the tank picture. 23 Ordnance 
leaders were also aware of the need to 
widen the base for tank production and 
welcomed Knudsen's aid in persuading the 
automobile industry to join them. The 
big difficulty was that the industry could 
not be "converted" to tank production 
overnight, nor could tanks be built in a 
few odd corners of existing plants. Build- 
ing tanks required a different set of tools 
and a complete new production layout; it 
could not be sandwiched in with automo- 
bile production. 

Knudsen's proposal was not to convert 

10 Memo, Col Alexander G. Gillespie for Chief, 
Ind Serv, 17 Jun 40, sub: Tank Prod Plans for 
1 94 1 Program, OCO ExecO files. 

20 The 4 German tank models in 1940 were 
the light tanks, Pz. Kfw. I and II, and the 
mediums, Pz. Kfw. Ill and IV. They were little, 
if any, better than U. S. tanks of the same year. 
See Green, Tho mson, a nd Roots, Planning Mu- 
Garrett Underhill, "In- 

nitions for War, fch. X 

traduction to German Armor," Armored Cavalry 
Journal, LVIII, No. 4 (1949), 6; and Red of 
Army Ord Research and Development — Tanks, 
pp. iA4Eff. 

- 1 For one account of this commission, see Ltr, 
Michael Dewar, head of British Tank Commis- 
sion, to Minister of Supply, London, ro Mar 4a, 
in Icks, op. cit. The progress and difficulties of 
British tank production in 1940 are described in 
Postan, op. cit., pp. 183-95. 

- - For a popular history of the Armored Force, 
see Mildred Hanson Gillie, Forging the Thunder- 
bolt (Harrisburg, Pa.: Military Service Publishing 
Company, 1947). The background of tank doc- 
trine, 19(9-40, is reviewed briefly in Green, 
Thomson, and Roots, Planning Munitions for 
War, \pp. 189-94, 1 

23 Vor comment on the nature of peacetime 
locomotive production, see History, Philadelphia 
Ordnance District, I, Part 7, page 103. 



existing auto plants but to build an en- 
tirely new plant in the Detroit area, a 
tank arsenal specially designed and 
equipped to make medium tanks. On 7 
June he telephoned K. T. Keller, president 
of the Chrysler Corporation, and arranged 
a conference with him for the following 
weekend. When asked if he would consider 
building and operating such a plant for 
the government, Keller immediately agreed 
to put his production planners to work on 
the problem. Within forty-eight hours he 
was in Washington conferring with Gen- 
eral Wesson and his staff. 24 

Not only had Chrysler never made tanks 
before, but few of its engineers had ever 
even seen a tank. They had to go at once 
to Rock Island Arsenal to examine a tank 
model and obtain the necessary blueprints 
— 186 pounds of them. Back in Detroit on 
17 June they began intensive work, behind 
closed doors, estimating the cost of build- 
ings, machines, and materials. They 
worked from early morning until late at 
night, seven days a week. Finally, on 17 
July, Keller delivered his completed esti- 
mate to Knudsen in Washington. A tank 
arsenal to produce ten medium tanks a 
day would cost $21,000,000, and each 
tank (complete except for guns) would 
cost about $30,000. Knudsen told Keller 
to give these figures to General Wesson 
and then make a recalculation on the 
basis of cutting the capacity to five tanks 
per day. Reporting this conference to 
General Charles Harris the same day, 
Colonel Lewis remarked, "It looks like a 
good proposition to me." 25 

The only real trouble with the proposi- 
tion was lack of a first-rate tank design. 
The Chrysler engineers started with the 
design of the M2A1, mounting only a 37- 
mm. gun, but reports from the European 
battlefront had already shown its inade- 

quacy. To meet the crying need for tanks 
with bigger guns and tougher armor, the 
Armored Force and Ordnance collabora- 
ted in rushing through plans for a new 
tank, salvaging what they could from the 
existing M2A1 model and profiting from 
British battle experience. For the first 
time a turret basket, power operation of 
turret, and a gyrostabilizer were applied to 
an American tank. The 75-mm. gun was 
put in the right sponson, where it had 
limited traverse, because Ordnance had 
tried out such an arrangement some 
months earlier with good results, but it 
was understood at the time that a com- 
pletely new design with the gun in the 
turret, giving all-round traverse, would be 
more desirable. 26 

Design of the tank, the M3, was still 
under way at the time the contract with 

24 Keller's own version of the incident is told 
in "The Detroit Tank Arsenal," Army Ordnance, 
XXII, No. 130 (January-February 1942), 545- 
46. Knudsen's account is in Lecture, Problems in 
War Production, ICAF, 18 Jun 46, p. 13; (1) 
Wesley W. Stout, Tanks Are Mighty Fine Things 
(Detroit: Chrysler Corporation, 1946); (2) In- 
tervs with Generals Charles Harris and Burton 
Lewis, Mar 54; (3) Hist, Detroit Ord Dist, I; 
(4) Truman Comm. Hearings, 77th Cong., 1st 
sess., pt. 1, pp. 102-03. 

2n Memo, Col Burton O. Lewis for Chief Ind 
Serv, 17 Jul 40, sub: Chrysler Motor Co., ExccO 
file. See also: (1) Stout, op. cit.; (2) Lecture, 
K. T. Keller, Problems of Tank Production, 
ICAF, 17 Mar 48, ICAF Library L48-1 1 1 ; and 
(3) Testimony of John D. Biggers in Hearings, 
Truman Comm., 77th Cong., 1st sess., pt. 7, 13 
Aug 41, pp. 2059-61. 

20 ( r ) Hist, Engr and Mfg Div, OCO-D, sees, 
entitled History of U.S. Medium Tank and Brief 
History of Medium Tanks from 1939 to 1942; 
(2) Brig Gen John K. Christmas, Development of 
the U.S. Medium Tanks M3 and M4, 20 Jul 43, 
OHF; (3) Icks, Evolution of American and 
German Medium Tanks; (4) Chase, Design, De- 
velopment and Prod of Tanks in World War II, 
p. ai; (5) Lt. Col. John K. Christmas, "Our 
New Medium Tank," Army Ordnance, XXII, 
No. 127 (July-August 1941), 27-29. 



Vj'*!*t - 

Detroit Tank Arsenal Under Construction on a 100-acre tract of farmland on the 
outskirts of Detroit. 

Chrysler was being negotiated. 27 At a 
meeting of top production officials on i 
August, General Wesson stated that the 
last of the ten thousand drawings required 
for the new design would not be com- 
pleted for at least sixty days, but he 
nevertheless asked for authority to sign 
the contract with Chrysler so that work on 
the new plant could begin at once. "As far 
as it is humanly possible to say, the design 
is right and settled," Lt. Col. Walter W. 
Warner told the meeting. "This design is 
based on our best engineering knowledge, 
but I do not believe we have ever built a 
tank or anything else that did not have to 
be altered at first." In spite of the many 
uncertainties in the picture the conferees 
unanimously approved immediate action 
to close the contract for building and 
equipping the new tank arsenal and pro- 
ducing one thousand medium tanks of the 
new M3 design, soon to be nicknamed the 
General Grant. This meant that Ordnance 

was attempting to go into production, do 
the development work, and build new 
facilities all at the same time. 28 

The contract signed, and a 100-acre 
tract of farmland on the outskirts of De- 
troit selected as the site, ground for the 
tank arsenal was broken early in Septem- 
ber 1940. A Chrysler engineer was mean- 
while sent to Aberdeen where designs of 
the new M3 were coming off the drawing 
boards. He mailed copies of blueprints to 
Detroit, relayed other information by 

27 The Mead Committee in 1946 was sharply 
critical of the Army for its lack of tank drawings 
in 1940. See S. Rpt No. 1 io, pt. 7, p. 7, Ad- 
ditional Report of the Mead Spec S. Comm., 79th 
Cong., 2d sess., 1946. 

28 Min of a conf held in OCO, Munitions 
Bldg, 1 Aug 40, ExecO file. For a brief account of 
the development work, see Hist, Engr and Mfg 
Div, OCO-D, and other references in preceding 
footnotes. Design and production of the Church- 
ill tank in Britain followed the same streamlined 
course, as did German production of Tigers and 



telephone, and, along with representatives 
of the railway equipment companies, of- 
fered Ordnance designers valuable sugges- 
tions on engineering changes that would 
mean cheaper and faster production. 29 
Late in January the steel of the main ar- 
senal building was up, and in mid-April 
1 94 1 the first tank was presented to 
Ordnance as the gift of Chrysler dealers 
throughout the country. By July, Keller 
wrote to Under Secretary Patterson that 
the tank arsenal was "beginning to look 
like a producing department" and would 
turn out 507 tanks during the next five 
months. 30 

While the tank arsenal was being built, 
Ordnance placed large orders for M3 tanks 
with the American Locomotive Company 
and the Baldwin Locomotive Works — 
685 to be built by American and 535 by 
Baldwin — bringing total orders up to 
2,220. The British government meanwhile 
contracted directly with Baldwin, Lima 
Locomotive Works, and Pullman-Standard 
Car Company; the Canadian govern- 
ment contracted with the Montreal division 
of American Locomotive for 1,157 tanks 
of the M-3 design. The United States 
refused to permit the British to place 
contracts with American firms for British- 
designed tanks, thus forcing adoption of 
the M3 by the British and Canadian forces. 
This step greatly simplified production 
and maintenance, but the M3 design had 
been improvised so hastily, and with so 
little opportunity for test, that it soon had 
to be replaced by the M4. 31 

There was a strong spirit of competition 
among the three Ordnance contractors in 
early 1941, and each strove to win the 
honor of producing the first tank. There 
was also an extreme shortage of certain 
major components, particularly power 
trains (transmissions and final drives). In 

April, when American and Baldwin were 
about to complete their first tanks, the 
Mack Manufacturing Company had only 
one power train available. It was delivered 
to American, and completion of that com- 
pany's first tank was heralded with a 
demonstration before Secretary Patterson 
and other high-ranking Army officials. The 
power train was then quickly removed and 
delivered by truck to the Baldwin Locomo- 
tive Works so that company could cele- 
brate completion of its first tank a few 
days later. Meanwhile Chrysler, which 
built its own transmissions, had completed 
its first tank on 1 1 April but the accep- 
tance ceremony did not take place until 
24 April when General Wesson personally 
accepted two complete tanks. It was a 
photo finish with all three companies cross- 
ing the line at about the same time. 32 

29 ( 1) Hist, Engr and Mfg Div, OCO-D; (a) 
Stout, op, cit., pp. a 1-23; {3) Christmas, "Our 
New Medium Tank," Army Ordnance, XXII, No. 
127 (July-August 1941), 27-29. 

30 Ltr, Keller to Patterson, 21 Jul 41, copy in 
ExecO file. The plant was officially designated 
Detroit Tank Arsenal in May 1941. See Ltr, TAG 
to CofOrd, 29 May 41, sub: Redesignation of 
Detroit Ord Plant, AG 680.9 ( 5-5-4 ' ) • A pic- 
torial section of Army Ordnance, XXII, No. 127 
(July-August 1 941) is devoted to the tank plants 
and their products. See also Charles O. Herb, 
"Tanks for the Democracies Roll from Chrysler's 
Arsenal," Machinery, vol. 48, No, 4 (December 

31 (1) Christmas, "Our New Medium Tank," 
Army Ordnance, XXII, No. 127 (July-August 
1941), 27-29; (2) Memo, Lt Col William W. 
Knight, Jr., for Brig Gen Christmas, 16 May 45, 
sub: Informal Rpt on Early Phases of Tank 
Program, OHF; (3) PSP on Prod Ping, OCO-D, 
1 6 Jun 45, P4336. Histories of the Rochester and 
Philadelphia district offices contain additional 
data on these early tank contracts. For a British 
report, see Ltr, Michael Dewar, head of British 
Tank Commission, to Ministry of Supply, London, 
to Mar 42, in Icks, op. cit. 

32 (1) Hist, Rochester Ord Dist, vol. 100, pt. 
13; ( 2 ) Ltr, Keller to Thomson, 1 Apr 54, OHF ; 
(3) Telcon with Gen Burton O. Lewis, 15 Apr 
54; (4) Stout, op. cit., p. 26. 



The U.S. Army had no heavy tanks at 
the start of 1940, and little desire to ac- 
quire any. Its plans were oriented toward 
defense of the nation against invasion, not 
toward sending an expeditionary force 
overseas to attack strongly fortified posi- 
tions. Ordnance tank experts consistently 
argued for heavy tanks, but the Infantry 
and other branches opposed the idea. Crit- 
ics of the heavy tank argued that it was 
needed only for assaulting major fortifica- 
tions and taunted the heavy tank advo- 
cates by reminding them that neither 
Canada nor Mexico, the nation's nearest 
neighbors, had erected Maginot Lines. But 
in the spring of 1940, largely due to the 
shock of the German successes — including 
exaggerated reports of the size of German 
tanks — work on development of a 60-ton 
heavy tank was approved. 33 The M6, 
powered by a 1 ,000-horsepower gasoline 
engine and mounting a 3-inch gun, was 
standardized later in the year, and one 
pilot tank was ordered from Baldwin in 
August, but production had to wait for 
another twelve months. 34 

It is worth noting that by the fall of 
1940 the critics were already attacking the 
Army for its slowness in rearming, partic- 
ularly in getting airplanes and tanks. They 
appeared not to understand that the huge 
sums appropriated for the so-called "de- 
fense program" could not be translated 
into military hardware overnight. Arthur 
Krock, writing in the New York Times on 
1 October, declared the nation was totally 
unprepared to meet any challenge in the 
air, whether at home or abroad, and went 
on to say, "The Army has about 500 tanks, 
one-half of which are obsolete. It has or- 
dered one heavy tank, but at the moment 
it does not own one." General Wesson 
declared the following day that U.S. tanks 
were not obsolete and added that no 

other country in the world was known to 
have heavy tanks in quantity. 88 By the 
end of December 1940 the score on tank 
procurement stood as follows: light tanks 
— 325, mediums — 6, heavies — o. 

Doubling the Program in 1941 

The first five months of 1941 were rela- 
tively uneventful, both at home and 
abroad. England had survived the bomb- 
ing attacks of late 1940 and was receiving 
more American aid. The war against the 
U-boats in the Atlantic and the fighting 
in North Africa were both causing con- 
cern,- but they were less spectacular than 
events in 1940. For Ordnance, require- 
ments remained steady and production 
gradually gained momentum. ACF con- 
tinued to produce light tanks, and the 
output of mediums rose steadily at Chrys- 
ler, American, and Baldwin. The worst 
bottleneck during this period was the 
supply of machine tools, with contractors 
sometimes finding that lack of a single 
machine prevented their completing an 
order. The difficulty in getting tools on 
time was due to the low-priority rating, 

33 (1) OGM 15842, aa May 40; (2) Ltr, 
CofOrd for TAG, sub: Heavy Tanks, 27 May 40, 
OO 451.25/10492. The Germans had no heavy 
tanks in service in 1940. The Pz. Kw. IV 
weighed only 19 tons and mounted a 75-mm. 
gun. For an account of the heavy tank contro- 
versy, see Green, Thomson , and Roots, Plannins 
Munitions for War \ ch. X. | 

34 For discussion of heavy tank potentialities in 
1940, see Capt. Charles R. Ku'tz, "Break-Through 
Tanks," Army Ordnance, XXI, No. 123 {Novem- 
ber-December 1940), 242-45. The Baldwin 
heavy tank contract is described in History, 
Philadelphia Ordnance District, Volume I, Part 
7, pages 104 and 129. For an account of develop- 
ment, see History of the Heavy Tank, M6, n.d., 
in Ord R&D files, no author, OHF. 

35 (1) New York Times, October I, 1940, 
editorial page; {2) Memo, GofOrd for ASW, a 
Oct 40, sub: Article by Arthur Krock, ExecO file. 



A-i-g, applied to producers of medium 
tanks. 36 

The calm that prevailed in the tank 
program during the first half of the 
year was suddenly broken in July 1941 — 
immediately following the German inva- 
sion of the Soviet Union — when President 
Roosevelt stepped into the picture and 
directed that production of tanks be ex- 
pedited at once, "with the only limiting 
factor . . . the ability of American industry 
to produce tanks." 37 This was part and 
parcel of the President's plan to gear 
American production to a comprehensive 
Victory Program aimed at the defeat of 
all "potential enemies." Secretary Patter- 
son gave the President a preliminary esti- 
mate that 1,600 medium tanks could be 
built by the end of the year and that the 
established objective was production at 
the rate of 1,000 per month. More than 
this could not be produced, OPM officials 
advised the President, "without consider- 
able industrial dislocation." 38 A few days 
later, General Wesson stated that only 
1,400 mediums could be produced by the 
end of the year — 850 by U.S. contractors 
and 550 by British suppliers — plus 1,900 
light tanks. But he warned that even this 
estimate could not be met if tools sched- 
uled for tank plants were diverted else- 
where. 3 * 

During July and August, while General 
Staff planners were at work on the 
Victory Program, several important steps 
were taken to speed production. Ord- 
nance created a separate Tank and Com- 
bat Vehicle Division 40 headed by Lt. Col. 
John K. Christmas, thus taking tanks out 
of the Artillery Division. A short time 
later, to eliminate conflict of responsibil- 
ities between Ordnance and the recently 
created Office of Production Management, 
the tank section of OPM, headed by Lt. 

Col. William W. Knight, Jr., was trans- 
ferred to Ordnance. Further, control of all 
tank production, both American and 
British, was centralized in Ordnance. 41 

In the midst of this concerted drive to 
speed production President Roosevelt 
dropped a bombshell in mid-September. 
At a White House conference, where 
Generals Charles Harris and Burton Lewis 
represented Ordnance, the President re- 
viewed current military production plans. 
When he came to the schedule calling for 
production of 1,000 medium tanks and 
400 light tanks per month, the President 
paused, placed a cigarette in his famous 
long holder, lit it, and then calmly issued 
this cryptic directive: "Double it!" 
Monthly production was to be 2,800 — or 
33,600 per year. The cost would be close 
to a billion dollars for one year's produc- 
tion. 42 

Ordnance leaders, as conservative in 
their way as the President was bold in his, 
thought this decision ill-advised. From 
their point of view, doubling production 
goals meant a further worsening of the 
already critical machine-tool situation and 
meant bringing new, less experienced pro- 
ducers into the picture. Unlike the Presi- 

36 Memo, Kn ight, to Brig Gen Christmas, 16 
May 45. See also |ch. Ill | above. 

37 Ltr, President to SW, 9 Jul 41, ExecO file. 
3lt Ltr, Sidney Hillman and Biggers, OPM, to 

President, 11 Jul 41, ExecO file. 

39 Memo, CofOrd for USW, 25 Jul 41, sub: 
Monthly Prod . . . Tanks, OHF. 

40 An oddly redundant title as tanks are com- 
bat vehicles. The new division was created by 
ODO 183, 29 July 1941. 

41 (1) Memo, Knight, for Brig Gen Christmas, 
16 May 45; (2) Ltr, USW to CofOrd, 17 Jul 
41, OO 451.25/7113; (3) PSP on Prod Ping, 
OCO-D, 16 Jun 45, P4336. 

*- Intervs with Generals Harris and Lewis in 
1953-54. See also Smith, Army and Economic 
Mobilization, Chapter VI, for discussion of form- 
ulation of Victory Program. 



dent, they were close to the practical 
problems of production and not up-to-date 
on plans to send military equipment on a 
vast scale to friendly powers, chiefly 
Britain and the Soviet Union. 43 But once 
the President had spoken Ordnance had 
no choice but to push ahead with the 
enlarged program. As a first step, an A- 
i-a priority was requested for all tanks. 
Ordnance estimated that with such a pri- 
ority tank production could be increased 
15 percent by 30 June 1942. When this 
estimate was reported to the President he 
upped the figure to 25 percent. The next 
steps were to increase existing tank or- 
ders, urge faster production, and build 
new capacity. Ordnance took over British 
orders with Pressed Steel, Pullman- 
Standard, and Lima, firms that had just 
come into production at old plants reha- 
bilitated at British expense. Contracts for 
transmissions and final drives were placed 
with the Caterpillar Tractor Company and 
the Iowa Transmission Company, the lat- 
ter a subsidiary of John Deere Company. 
Negotiations were started with steel foun- 
dries to increase their capacity for cast 
armor, then only half of estimated re- 
quirements. At the same time, capacity for 
producing both homogeneous and face- 
hardened armor plate had to be greatly 
increased, with such companies as Repub- 
lic Steel, Carnegie-Illinois, and Henry Dis- 
ston heading the list. In mid-November 
negotiations were completed for an en- 
tirely new tank arsenal at Grand Blanc, 
Michigan, to be operated by the Fisher 
Body Division of General Motors. Compar- 
able to the Chrysler tank arsenal, it was 
to have capacity for one thousand M4 
medium tanks per month and was to cost 
something over $37 million for buildings, 
machinery, and equipment. 44 

While these long-term projects were be- 

ing launched, production from existing 
plants was disappointingly slow. For No- 
vember, only 306 medium tanks were 
produced against a scheduled 490. The 
trouble was in the production of trans- 
missions, with one leading source making 
only 33 units during the month. Consider- 
able improvement was achieved in De- 
cember when increased transmission pro- 
duction brought the figure on medium 
tanks up to 506. The December rate for 
light and medium tanks combined was a 
little over 900 — far short of the President's 
new objective, though well ahead of the 
rate of 32 in the preceding December. 45 
Most important, there were five competent 
producers of medium tanks in the field 
— American, Baldwin, Chrysler, Pressed 
Steel, and Pullman-Standard — and the 
huge new Fisher tank arsenal was under 
construction. By the end of the year the 
production score for all of 1941 stood as 
follows: light tanks — 2,591, mediums — 
1 ,46 1 , heavies — o. 48 

The All-Out Effort in ig^si 

At the start of 1942, while Ordnance 
leaders were pushing hard to reach the 

4:1 For discussion of the strategic plans, see 
Watson, Chief of Staff, Chapter XI, and Maurice 
Matloff and Edwin M. Snell, Strategic Planning 
for Coalition Warfare 1941-1943, UNITED 
ington, 1953), Chapter III. The British side of 
the picture is reported in Postan, op. cit., Pages 

44 (1) Chase, Combat Vehicles, 1940-45, op. 
cit., pp. 101-02; (2) Military Tank Production, 
a progress report by War Projects Unit, Bur of 
the Budget, 24 Oct 44, OHF; (3) Hist, Chicago 
Ord Dist, I, pt. 2. 

45 Summary Report of Acceptance, Tank- 
Automotive Materiel, 1940-45, OCO-D, De- 
cember 1945, OHF. 

4,i Whiting, Statistics. A pilot model of the 60- 
ton heavy tank with a cast hull was accepted 
from the Baldwin Locomotive Company on the 
day after Pearl Harbor. 



"double it" objective, President Roosevelt 
suddenly raised the requirements still 
higher. In a secret letter to the Secretary 
of War on 3 January he set the following 
tank production goals: 47 

1942 1943 
Total 45,000 75.000 

Heavy 500 5,000 

Medium 25,000 50,000 

Light 19,500 20,000 

Three days later the President made these 
figures public in his message to Congress 
and touched off a heated public discussion 
of the feasibility of the new goals — and 
as to the origins of the President's figures. 
On this latter point, one fact was crystal 
clear: they did not originate with the 
Ordnance Department. General Staff 
planners working on the Victory Program 
were dealing with such big, round figures, 
but Ordnance leaders were not. General 
Wesson and his staff not only doubted the 
need for such huge numbers of tanks but 
also felt they could not be produced with- 
out sacrificing other equally important 
munitions. Ordnance leaders assigned 
credit — or blame — for the new objectives 
to Lord Beaverbrook, British supply chief, 
and to such Presidential advisers as Harry 
Hopkins and Robert Nathan. 48 In support 
of this view they cited the conference on 
29 December 1941 when Lord Beaver- 
brook's views were presented to Donald 
Nelson and others in the office of Vice 
President Henry A. Wallace. According to 
Nelson, the British supply chief stated 
"that in talking to Stalin, Stalin told him 
that Germany had thrown 30,000 tanks 
into the fight with Russia. . . . He made 
the statement that if an invasion of Amer- 
ica was attempted we had no conception 
of the number of tanks we would have to 
cope with. . . . He thinks we should plan 
for the production of 45,000 tanks in 1942 

against Mr. Knudsen's estimate of 
30,000." ia These exaggerated views were 
also impressed upon the President who 
not only recognized the need for "over- 
whelming superiority in munitions" but 
also valued the psychological effect of a 
dramatic gesture to instill confidence in 
the American people, and in their many 
allies throughout the world. When ques- 
tioned on the industrial practicality of 
figures to be used in his message to Con- 
gress, he is said to have answered, "Oh 
— the production people can do it if they 
really try." 50 

Within two weeks of the President's 
directive, Ordnance had its plans drawn 
up and ready for presentation to the 
Office of Production Management and the 
Under Secretary of War for approval. For 
the medium tank, Colonel Christmas re- 
ported, the nine firms so far lined up were 
considered capable of producing the re- 
quired 25,000 tanks during 1942, if they 
got the tools and materials needed. By 
far the biggest producer on the list was 
the Detroit Tank Arsenal, which was to be 
enlarged to make 7,765 units during the 
year, plus 500 transmissions to be used by 
other tank producers. It was followed by 
five railway equipment companies — Amer- 
ican (both U.S. and Canadian plants), 
Baldwin, Pullman-Standard, Pressed Steel 

47 Ltr, President to SW, 3 Jan 42, copy in OHF. 
A similar letter went to OPM on 5 Jan 42. See 
CPA, Industrial Mobilization for War, p. 278. 

48 Intervs with Generals Harris and Lewis, Mar 
54. For further light on this point, see Wesson's 
confs, Jan-Mar 42, particularly 27 Mar 42. 

40 Quoted in CPA, Industrial Mobilization for 
War, p. 277. See also Robert E. Sherwood, 
Roosevelt and Hopkins: An Intimate History 
(New York: Harper & Brothers, 1948), pp. 
473-74. According to the U.S. Strategic Bombing 
Survey, Germany had only 4,500 tanks in service 
on 1 June 1941 — not 30,000. 

r '° Sherwood, op. cit., p. 474. 



Car, and Lima Locomotive — and the new 
Fisher tank arsenal. The Ford Motor Com- 
pany was also to start building tanks 
and was scheduled to reach a 500-per- 
month rate in November 1942. On a 
smaller scale, the Pacific Car and Foundry 
Company of Renton, Wash., was to come 
into production in 1942. The conferees 
concluded that Ordnance had the tank 
program well in hand but recommended 
adding two more sources for medium 
tanks. 51 

In February Colonel Christmas made a 
strong case for revising the President's light 
tank requirements so that fewer would be 
produced in 1942 and more in 1943. 
"There is no doubt that we could achieve 
these objectives [19,500 in 1942 and 
20,000 in 1943]," he explained to a 
conference attended by Patterson, Harri- 
son, Knudsen, and others, "but there is 
this major objection to it — if we set up 
facilities to do that, they will be idle in 
1943 to a considerable extent." Producing 
19,500 tanks during 1942 would mean 
building up to a high capacity in the latter 
part of the year, capacity far in excess of 
that needed to produce virtually the same 
number of units in twelve full months of 
1943. But the conference gave no positive 
answer to the queston before passing on 
to the medium tank. Here, with eleven 
firms at work, some on the M3 (General 
Grant) and others on the M4 (General 
Sherman), Ordnance expressed confidence 
that the Presidential objectives could be 
reached, both for 1942 and 1943, if given 
a high priority. Engines, transmissions, and 
guns were the critical components, but 
vigorous efforts were being made to speed 
their production. As for the heavy tank, it 
presented the same problem as the light 
tank — production was too much concen- 
trated in 1942. There was also a further 

question as to the real need for such 
tanks, as they were desired only by the 
British, not by the U.S. Army. "I haven't 
found an officer yet in the U.S. Army that 
proposes that we get these heavy tanks," 
commented Deputy Chief of Staff General 
Richard Moore. "I think that should be 
deferred until this British tank committee 
gets over here." The decision was that 
Ordnance should "proceed as planned and 
no further," and await the joint British- 
American conferences scheduled for 
March. 52 

Two weeks later, Colonel Christmas 
presented additional thoughts on the tank 
program. He reported that the prospects 
of achieving the Presidential objective for 
medium tanks — 25,000 in 1942 and 50,000 
in 1943 — were good. But, he warned, this 
could be done only at the cost of other 
items, particularly armored cars and self- 
propelled artillery. He therefore recom- 
mended that the 1942 objective be cut 
from 25,000 to 20,000, and heavy tanks 
be reduced proportionately. This would 
help balance production by making it 
possible to produce a proper complement 
of scout cars, half tracks, and self- 
propelled artillery. Colonel Christmas also 
raised a question as to the reasonable- 
ness of the over-all tank objectives, point- 
ing out that they would supply light tanks 
for 123 armored divisions, medium tanks 
for 216 armored divisions, plus ioo percent 

sl Conf held in Wesson's office, 16 Jan 42, sub: 
Proc Plan for Tanks Covered by the President's 
Dir, ExecO file. On Pacific Car and Foundry, see 
Hist, San Francisco Ord Dist, I, Seattle Regional 
Office, pp. 7-15. 

5i Review of the Prod Plans of the Tank and 
Combat Vehicle Div, 25 Feb 42, T676A. General 
Moore apparently overstated the case somewhat. 
There certainly had been some heavy tank advo- 
cates in the Army in 1941 when the pilot model 
of the M6 was authorized. 




General Sherman M4A1 Medium Tank Assembly Line at Lima Locomotive 
Works, 1942. 

replacement for one year's operation. He 
questioned whether the United States, 
Britain, and the Soviet Union could organ- 
ize and otherwise equip and transport such 
huge numbers of tank units, and suggested 
that each nation would do better if it 
planned to equip more modest forces, per- 
haps 25 armored divisions each for 1942. 
Even this figure was nearly three times 
the number actually activated by the U.S. 
Army in 1942. 53 

Later in March the British Tank Mission 
and the U.S. Tank Committee held a 
number of conferences to work out de- 
tailed plans for co-ordinating American, 
British, and Canadian production. A major 
product of these meetings was the de- 
cision to recommend a program of balanced 
production, as Colonel Christmas had 
urged. Basically, this meant cutting the 
President's tank objectives and boosting 

those for armored cars and self-propelled 
artillery. As early as September 1941, when 
General Wesson was in London, the Brit- 
ish had urged the need for self-propelled 
artillery, citing the "startling successes 
gained by the German assault artillery." 54 
But the President's January program 
called for only 2,539 self-propelled weap- 
ons in 1942 — all of the relatively ineffec- 
tive 37-mm. type. The British-American 
conference recommended production of 

53 (1) Memos of Col Christmas for CofOrd, 10 
and 11 Mar 42, sub: President's Objectives for 
1942 and 1943: Prod of Tanks. ExecO file; (2) 
Memo, Maj Gen Brehon B. Somervell for CofOrd, 
6 Mar 42, sub: Presidential Objectives . . . , in 
folder ASP. The number of armored divisions 
actually organized by the U.S. Army throughout 
World War II was 16. Palmer, Wiley, and Keast, 
Procurement and Training of Ground Combat 
Troops, pp. 491-92. 

54 Min of Mtg held at Claridge Hotel, London, 
30 Sep 41, p. 17, OHF. 



General Grant M3 Medium Tank Assembly Line at Detroit Tank Arsenal. 

more than 15,000 self-propelled weapons, 
ranging from 40-mm. to 105-mm. Produc- 
tion of these weapons was nearly equival- 
ent to production of the same number of 
tanks, for they consisted of artillery pieces 
mounted on tank chassis. Known variously 
as self-propelled mounts, gun motor car- 
riages, or howitzer motor carriages, they 
served in many different roles, chiefly as 
antitank, antiaircraft, and mobile field ar- 
tillery weapons. 55 

In spite of the evidence that was piling 
up, both Somervell and Patterson were 
reluctant to advise the President that the 
objectives needed revision. At a conference 
in General Wesson's office late in March, 
when the U.S. Tank Committee's pro- 
posed changes in the objectives were dis- 
cussed, Mr, Patterson stated that he could 
not report to the White House that certain 
items in the program were superfluous 

and not useful. 58 General Wesson was less 
restrained, bluntly declaring that the pro- 
gram should be "balanced" and "in line 
with actual requirements," even if it meant 
informing the President that his objectives 
were unsound. When reminded that the 
President had set his production goals on 
the basis of Lord Beaverbrook's advice, 
General Wesson replied that "he sometimes 
disagreed with statements made by Lord 

55 (1) Findings and 'Final Min of the Joint 
British Tank Mission and the U.S. Tank Comm., 
30 Mar 42, p. 8, OHF; (2) Statement by Col 
Christmas, 15 Apr 42, copy in app. to PSP 55, 
Ord Rqmts 1939-46, by Maj Paul D. Olejar and 
others, Jul 45. See also Ltr, CofS for President, 
1 Apr 42 in ASF Director of Materiel file marked 
Presidential Objectives, dr G1591. 

56 Min, Wesson Conf, 25 Mar 42. See the 
President's letter to WPB Chairman Nelson, 1 
May 42, reiterating his desire to meet the Janu- 
ary objectives, quoted in CPA, Industrial Mobili- 
zation for War, pp. 281-82. 



Beaverbrook." The conferees then con- 
sidered sugar-coating the proposed changes 
by adopting a new nomenclature for tanks, 
self-propelled mounts, armored cars, and 
other fighting vehicles. General Harris re- 
marked that a heavy armored car was 
virtually a light tank, and Secretary Pat- 
terson agreed. General Clay proposed 
calling a self-propelled mount an "artil- 
lery tank." General Somervell observed 
that the Ordnance Technical Committee 
could hold a meeting that afternoon and 
rename all its combat vehicles to bring 
them under the heading of tanks, but 
General Wesson objected on the ground 
that any such move would lead to con- 
fusion. 57 The conference adjourned with- 
out reaching a final agreement, but when 
the Army Supply Program appeared early 
in April it embodied most of the changes 
under discussion. Tank requirements for 

1942 were cut deeply and large quantities 
of self-propelled artillery added. With the 
medium tank, for example, the 1942 re- 
quirements dropped from 25,000 to 
14,000, but 6,580 self-propelled weapons 
— built on medium tank chassis — were 
added. As the self-propelled weapons 
were nearly the same as tanks, Colonel 
Christmas described the shift as "a virtual 
renaming of part of our product." He 
estimated the net over-all effect was to 
reduce the 1942 program by 10 percent to 
15 percent, and to raise the 1943 program 
in proportion. The money value of the 
new 1942 program was approximately $3 
billion, and for 1943 about $8 billion. This 
shift was of great benefit from the pro- 
duction standpoint because it eased the 
load in 1942 and transferred some of it to 

1943 when new and expanded facilities 
would be better able to handle it. 58 

The production problems were neverthe- 
less ominous, for the total tank schedule 

to mid- 1 944 called for expenditure of over 
$16 billion. In February 1942 the diffi- 
culty of obtaining machine tools appeared 
to Ordnance as the most serious problem. 
In April the supply of materials moved 
into first place on the critical list, and 
stayed there for the rest of the year. In 
the tank program, nine-tenths of the ma- 
terial needed was steel, much of it high- 
grade steel. Nickel, copper, aluminum, and 
rubber were also required. "Even now," 
Colonel Christmas reported in April, 
"shortages of material are holding back 
our production." r>9 This was further evi- 
dence to justify reducing requirements, 
and it invalidated earlier Ordnance esti- 
mates of production potential. In spite of 
shortages throughout 1942, production 
rose month by month from 954 in January 
to 4,853 in December. But the total for 
the year was only 25,000 instead of 
45,000 as directed by the President in 
January 1942. The failure to produce 
more tanks was due in part to reduction 
of requirements but chiefly to shortages in 
material, irregular deliveries of material, 
and increasing emphasis on spare parts. 80 
Of the vehicles produced, roughly 11,000 

57 Min, Wesson Confs, 25 Mar 42. 

ns (1) Review of the Prod Plans for the Tank 
and Combat (Vehicle] Div, 18 Apr 42; (2) PSP 
55, Ord Rqmts 1939-46, by Maj Paul D. Olejar 
ant others, Jul 45. 

( 1 ) Review of the Prod Plans for the Tank 
and Combat [Vehicle] Div, 18 Apr 42; (2) 
Tank-Automotive Center Production Revie'.v, 1 1 
Dec 42, ASF Prod Div file 470.8 Tanks; (3) Rpt 
of Principal Accomplishments and Difficulties, 
30 Sep 42, OO 400.12. For discussion of conserva- 
tion measures to save scarce materials, see 
IChapter XVIII | in Green, Thomson, and Roots, 
Planning Munitions for War. For production 
problems on a by-item basis, see Production 
Analysis Notes, TCVD, 30 Apr 42. 

For a summary of factors affecting produc- 
tion, see Memo, Brig Gen Christmas for Lt Col 
Wallace E. Ni les, 16 Sep 42 . copy in OHF. On 
spare parts, see Chapter XIII below. 



were light tanks, 14,000 were mediums 
(mostly Grants), and 1 was a heavy tank 
M6. In addition, there were 1 1 ,430 self- 
propelled weapons, 9,846 half tracks, and 
7,366 scout cars. The total for all com- 
bat vehicles combined, including self- 
propelled weapons, armored cars, cargo 
carriers, loading vehicles, and others, was 
about 58,ooo. 61 

British and German Efforts in IQ42 

Meanwhile British tank production came 
under fire in the House of Commons, with 
critics citing difficulties not unlike those 
encountered in the United States. In March 
1942 the Select Committee on National 
Expenditure declared that: ". . . in the 
matter of settling the design for the weap- 
ons of war and the relative quantities of 
each that are required . . . the programme 
for manufacture as transmitted to in- 
dustry shows signs of inadequate foresight 
and sureness of decision, as well as a 
tendency at times to give consideration to 
producing the maximum volume of cer- 
tain articles rather than the exact types 
required by the fighting forces." 62 Aside 
from lack of a first-rate design, British 
tank production suffered from poor co- 
ordination between the War Office and 
the civilian Ministry of Supply. British 
production rose in 1942 to 8,611 units, 
but the quality of the tanks produced 
brought forth a good deal of criticism." 3 

Two trends dominated German tank 
production in 1942 — increased production, 
and emphasis on heavier tanks. In January 
1942, three weeks after announcement of 
President Roosevelt's objectives, Chancellor 
Hitler decided to expand German tank 
production — then running at about 4,000 
a year — in view of the disastrous losses his 
armies had suffered in Russia late in 1941. 

He also directed his generals to begin 
producing heavy tanks that could cope 
with the Russian T-34's. While American 
tank men were trying out the heavy M6, 
and preparing to discard it, Hitler set in 
motion the machinery that brought the 
powerful German heavy tanks, the Tiger 
and the Panther, onto the battlefield in 
small numbers about a year later. Less 
concerned with mechanical perfection than 
the U.S. Army, the Germans rushed these 
tanks from drawing board to battlefield in 
record time. 64 In September 1942 Hitler 
set a goal of 800 tanks per month to be 
attained by the spring of 1944 — less than 
15 percent of President Roosevelt's objec- 
tive for 1943. After the tremendous Ger- 
man tank losses at Stalingrad later in 
1942, the Adolf Hitler Panzer Program 
was drawn up by Albert Speer, Minister 
of War Production, calling for 1,200 per 
month by the end of 1944. Hitler immedi- 
ately told Speer this figure was too low 
and called for sharp increases which 
production officials regarded as fantastic. 
Hitler nevertheless issued a decree on 22 
January 1943 that all necessary measures 
be taken to increase tank production "even 
if by these measures other important 
branches of the armament industry are 
adversely affected for a time." The result 
was that production rose from about 

l!1 (t) Whiting, Statistics; (2) OCO-D Sum- 
mary Rpt, pp. XX-XXIV. 

''- War-Time Tank Production, Report by the 
Select Committee on National Expenditure . . . , 
p. 3, Jul 46, London. This is frequently referred 
to as the British White Paper on Tanks. A sum- 
mary of it appeared in The Times, London, July 
16, 1946, p. 5. 

63 Ibid. This report includes criticisms by the 
Select Committee and defenses by the War Office. 
For a brief historical summary of British tank 
production, see Postan, op. cit., pages 183-95. 

C4 Green, T homson, and Roots, Planning Mu- 
nitions for War \ ch. X. ' 



9,300 tanks during 1943 to about 17,500 
in 1944, with the monthly production rate 
reaching a peak of 1,600 in July i944. 85 

The Tank- Automotive Center 

Administratively, the most important 
development affecting U.S. tank produc- 
tion in 1942 was the creation of the De- 
troit Tank- Automotive Center (T-AC) 
later named Office Chief of Ordnance- 
Detroit (OCO-D). General Campbell 
took this step in September 1942 when 
responsibility for trucks and other trans- 
port vehicles was shifted from the Quar- 
termaster Corps to Ordnance. He had a 
dual purpose in mind: to combine truck 
and tank procurement in one office and at 
the same time decentralize it to Detroit. 
Congestion in Washington had reached an 
acute stage in the summer of 1942, with 
both office space and housing at a pre- 
mium. General Campbell made Brig. Gen. 
Alfred R. Glancy, a newly commissioned 
industrialist-in-uniform, chief of the center, 
aided by Brig. Gen. John K. Christmas, 
former chief of the Tank and Combat 
Vehicle Division, and Brig. Gen. Donald 
Armstrong, former chief of the Chicago 
Ordnance District. Creation of the T-AC, 
along with the simultaneous transfer to 
St. Louis of artillery ammunition procure- 
ment, made Ordnance the leader among 
the Army technical services in decentral- 
ization. 68 

Three months after the Tank- 
Automotive Center was formed, and nine 

months from announcement of the Presi- 
dent's objectives, the pressure on the 
production front was relieved by a sharp 
cut in requirements. In the revised Army 
Supply Program issued in November 1942 
the 1943 figure for Sherman tanks dropped 
from 46,500 to 24,582, and that for the 
105-mm. howitzer motor carriage from 
4,400 to 1,200. The only major increase 
was for 3,000 of the 3-inch gun motor 
carriages recently adopted as "tank des- 
troyers." The net effect of all changes 
was to reduce the requirement for medium 
tanks and allied vehicles by more than 
21,000 units. This sudden drop in require- 
ments marked the end of the "all-out" 
effort. Although there were few immediate 
cancellations of tank contracts, General 
Christmas remarked in December that the 
cutback had had a bad effect on industry 
morale, and concluded, "I doubt if we 
will ever get industry back to its enthusi- 
asm of last fall." 67 

05 USSBS, op. cit. Brief comment on German 
production appears also in Gordon A. Harrison, 
Cross-Channel Attack, UNITED STATES ARMY 
IN WORLD WAR II (Washington, 1951), pp. 

88 For details on the organization of T-AC, and 
its administrative problems, see Green, Thomson, 
Roots, Planning Munitions for War, Chapter 
For a brief summary of tank procurement 
procedures, see Outline of Tank Procurement, 
May 1942, Report No. 7, ASF Control Division, 
copy in OHF. Creation of the T-AC is described 
in Army Ordnance, XXIII, No. 135 (November- 
December 1942), 501. 

87 The background for this p hase of tank pro- 
curement is discussed above in IChapter IV| See 
also T-AC Prod Review, 1 1 Dec 4a, and Chase, 
Combat Vehicles 1940-45, pp. 73-74. 



Production of Tanks 

In a general way, tank building followed 
the methods of automobile production. Ma- 
jor components were produced in widely 
separated plants and then brought together 
and assembled at an assembly plant. Al- 
though some tank contractors made more 
components in their own shops than did 
others, none made them all. Armor plate 
and castings, for example, came from Pitts- 
burgh or Chicago steel mills and foundries 
in a rough or semifinished state. The guns 
were supplied by Ordnance arsenals or 
commercial producers. Rubber-bushed 
tracks came from one of the major rubber 
companies in Ohio. 1 Within the tank's 
enveloping armor the two most important 
major assemblies were the engine and the 
transmission, but there were also radios, 
periscopes, ammunition racks, and count- 
less other items. Most tank parts had two 
things in common — they were very heavy, 
and they were made chiefly of steel. More 
than any other factors, these two deter- 
mined the pattern of tank production. 
They required plants with big cranes to 
handle heavy assemblies, ingenious fixtures 
to hold parts in position, and a great 
variety of huge machine tools for cutting 

and shaping the material. (Table rg ] 

The Schenectady plant of the American 
Locomotive Company was such a plant. 
Its tank assembly line — adjacent to con- 
tinuing locomotive production areas — was 
a series of seven stations at each of which 

a major component was added. Starting 
with the lower hull, or chassis, the gas 
tanks and the mount for the big gun were 
first put in place. At the next station the 
giant transmission was added. At the third 
stop an overhead crane lowered the engine 
into place and the drive shaft was connec- 
ted with the transmission. As the hull 
moved slowly from station to station it 
gradually took on the appearance of a 
fighting tank, finally rolling onto its tracks 
and receiving its big gun and turret. 2 

Although the locomotive companies were 
able to use much of the equipment they 
had on hand, many new machine tools 
were required, as well as additional han- 
dling equipment. American Locomotive not 
only needed over one hundred new ma- 
chine tools for its first tank order but also 
had to rearrange its entire plant layout to 
make room for them. 3 For its first light 
tank order, American Car and Foundry in- 
stalled seventy-five new tools and a series 

1 For an account of tank track development, see 
Green, Thomson, and Roots, Planning Munitions 
for War. jChapter XlJ 

2 Fortune, February 1942, p. 79. This article 
shows the early influence of military "censorship." 
After it had been blue-penciled by the War De- 
partment, Fortune published the article with the 
word CENSORED covering each deletion. 

3 History of Combat Tank Production at the 
Schenectady Plant of the American Locomotive 
Company. 1 Aug 45, prepared by the company, 



Table 19 — Tank Production by Facility, 1940-1945 

Breakdown of Light, Medium, and Heavy Tanks by Facility but Does Not 
Include Experimental Tanks by Development Division. 


Total Tank Production— 1940-1945. 

Detroit Tank Arsenal 

American Car & Foundry 

Fisher Tank Arsenal 

Cadillac Motor Company 

Pressed Steel 


American Locomotive Works 

Baldwin I.oconmlive Works 

Massey Harris Company 

Ford Motor Company 

Lima Locomotive 

Montreal Locomotive Works 


Pacific Car and Foundry 

Federal Machine 

Rock Island Arsenal 

International Harvester 

17 Lefts than 0.05 percent. 

Sonne: Tabulation dated 14 Jan 46 in folder. Col. Colby charts, OCO Detroit files. 


^ I Dec 45 

of Total 

88 410 

100 .0 

25 .2 



13, 137 


10, 142 




3 , 926 


2 , 98 5 

3 .4 





1 ,690 

1 .9 


1 .9 


1 .3 


1 .2 


1 .0 







of heat-treating furnaces. 4 The Detroit in developing new techniques as well as 

Arsenal required over 1,000 machine tools new tools and fixtures, particularly for 

and some 8,500 specially designed jigs and ^ItptTby ACF, 3 Mar 44, in Hist, Phila Ord 

fixtures. All the companies had to pioneer Dist, vol. too, pt. 1. 



welding, cutting, and straightening heavy 
armor plate. 

The Detroit Tank Arsenal stood in sharp 
contrast to the locomotive plants, for it was 
built from the ground up for the sole 
purpose of building tanks. But it neverthe- 
less went through a series of rather drastic 
changes. Before the arsenal was built, 
Knudsen's idea of having it produce its 
own armor plate — and practically all 
other parts — was abandoned, the first step 
in a long process of decentralizing tank 
production. The year before, American Car 
and Foundry had installed furnaces for 
face-hardening its own plate because other 
sources were not readily available, but the 
planned production schedules for the De- 
troit Arsenal were so high — and the use 

of thicker homogeneous plate was rising so 
fast — that Chrysler decided to buy its 
armor plate and heavy steel castings from 
other firms. Nearly all other parts, except 
guns, were made at the arsenal during 
1941, including the famous 30-cylinder 
engine built by gearing five Chrysler truck 
engines to a single drive shaft, and hun- 
dreds of extra transmissions for other tank 
contractors. The arsenal became a well 
integrated basic pilot plant. 5 

In 1942, as tank requirements zoomed 
and automobile manufacture stopped for 
the duration of the war, Chrysler began 

5 For a description of arsenal methods, see 
Herb, "Tanks for the Democracies Roll from 
Chrysler's Arsenal," Machinery, vol. 48. No. 4 
(December 1941). 



farming out its operations. This was in 
accord with Keller's original plans for ex- 
pansion in time of a real emergency. Be- 
tween February and September more than 
700 large machine tools were moved to 
other Chrysler plants, some of which ma- 
chined gears and suspension wheels while 
others welded hulls and still others per- 
formed a variety of machining, forging, 
and assembling jobs. More and more, the 
tank arsenal became a final inspection and 
assembly plant supplied by scores of other 
production units. Looking back on the ex- 
perience from the vantage point of the 
year 1 948 Keller observed that 

. . . the job experienced all the standard 
hardships of World War II production. The 
first design was scrapped before we could 
begin. Despite the early start made, the 
value of priorities for machine tools and 
equipment quickly melted away like snow on 
a hot day. Frantic calls for increased pro- 
duction alternated with drastic cutbacks. Dis- 
appearance of critical materials held it up. 
Sudden changes in design upset ability to 
deliver, and broke the planned flow of op- 
erations. We never once had all of the ma- 
chine tools and equipment that our schedules 
called for. 7 

In tank production, as in other phases 
of Ordnance procurement, industry inte- 
gration committees played an important 
role in bringing manufacturers together to 
eliminate bottlenecks and speed produc- 
tion. 8 Beginning with the medium tank 
committee in 1942, a total of twenty- 
seven were created by April 1943 when the 
last one was organized. Many committees 
were active only for short periods because 
the problems they dealt with were success- 
fully solved. But some lasted all during the 
war years. Speaking of the medium tank 
committee, one Ordnance officer aptly de- 
scribed the work of them all. "You might 
think of this committee," he remarked, "as 

being a great merger of tank plants all 
combined under the trade mark of the 
Ordnance Department and all making the 
same product — the American medium 


Tank engines constituted one of the 
worst bottlenecks early in the war. 10 Be- 
fore 1940, Ordnance tank designers had 
planned to use both diesel engines made 
by the Guibcrson Company and "Whirl- 
wind" gasoline engines made by the Wright 
Aeronautical Corporation, but as the de- 
fense program got under way these firms 
could not meet the tremendous demand for 
tank, plane, and ship engines. As airplanes 
and ships had top priority, Ordnance had 
to look for other sources. In the fall of 
1940 Ordnance contracted with the Con- 
tinental Motors Company to rehabilitate 
its old Detroit plant to produce the Wright 
aircraft engine, under a license arrange- 
ment, at the rate of twenty engines per 
day. Early in 1941 Ordnance felt that, 
with more than six thousand engines con- 

" ( 1 ) Stout. Tanks- Are Mighty Fine Things, 
pp. 44-4^; (21 Ltr, Keller to Thomson, i Apr 
54; Hist, Detroit Ord Dist, vol. I, pp. T-20- 

33. The hitter reference Rives names of plants 
and products of each, based on production prog- 
ress reports. 

1 Lecture, K. T. Keller, Problems of Tank Pro- 
duction, 17 Mar 48, ICAF. 

" For the ori gins of integr ation committees, sec 
|Chaptcr III | and lChaptcr Vl] above. 

" Press release, fl Dec 42, T-AC, quoting Gen- 
eral Clancy, copy in Hist, Engr and Mfg Div, 
OCO-D. Sec also History, Ordnance Department 
Industry Integration Committee for Medium 
Tanks, by Maj Louis Antol, T r -, 1 Jun 4 r >i 

"'For the research and development back- 
ground on tank engines, sec Green, Thomson, and 
Roots, Planning Munitions for War, |pp. 202-0;; | 



tracted for, it faced no real problem, but 
as the tank program was doubled and re- 
doubled in ensuing months, the need for 
engines far exceeded earlier calculations. 11 
In the winter of 1941-42 there was no 
time to design and test a completely new 
tank engine, and build new plants for its 
manufacture. Substitute engines that 
could be produced at once, using tools 
already at hand in existing plants, had to 
be adopted, including the Chrysler multi- 
bank, the GM twin diesel, the Ford V-8, 
and the Caterpillar RD-1820 — an air- 
cooled radial diesel. The Guiberson diesels 
were manufactured for a time at a new 
plant in Garland, Texas, but the contract 
was later terminated and the plant taken 
over by Continental Motors to make gaso- 
line engines. 12 The picture was further 
complicated by the preference of the Brit- 
ish and Soviet governments for diesel en- 
gines in lend-lease tanks, and by differences 
of opinion among U.S. Army authorities as 
to the relative merits of gasoline and diesel 
engines for tanks. As early as April 1942 
Maj. Gen. Jacob L. Devers of the Armored 
Force had urged elimination of both the 
Guiberson and Chrysler engines. 13 But 
the demand for engines was so great that 
every reasonably acceptable type had to be 
used, even though this practice played 
hob with field maintenance and spare parts 

Meanwhile engines scheduled for tanks 
were diverted to the Navy or the Air 
Forces, sometimes without consulting the 
Ordnance Department. At a production 
conference in June 1942 General Christ- 
mas reported that since the first of the 
year, 2,500 GM diesel engines had been 
diverted to the Navy, and General Clay 
added that 1,100 more had recently been 
diverted. General Christmas bluntly warned 
the conference as follows: 

We cannot stand any more diversions of 
engines and still meet the 1942 tank objec- 
tives. . . . They are continually calling me 
into meetings where they want to take the 
Wright engine and put it into training 
planes. Fifty percent of the tanks made this 
year will have Wright engines, 34 percent 
will have General Motors engines, 10 percent 
will have Chrysler and six percent will have 
the Ford. So if they start taking away Gen- 
eral Motors' and Wright's engines, they are 
taking away the foundation of the pro- 
gram. 14 

The supply of engines improved gradually 
during the year, but remained a problem 
even in the early months of 1 943. 

In June 1943 General Christmas re- 
viewed the whole engine problem in a 

11 (1) Memo, Knight, to Brig Gen Christmas, 
16 May 45, sub: Informal Rpt on Early Phases 
of Tank Program, OHF; (a) The Design, De- 
velopment and Production of Tanks in World 
War II, I, sec. EB Medium Tanks, p. 10, EE 
Components, and PE Components, prepared by 
OCO-D [1945]. On engine development in the 
1930's, sec History of Development of the Wright- 
Continental R-975 Radial Engine, Feb 47, both 
by Edward Promack, OHF. See also the difficul- 
ties of engine design and production faced by the 
British, as described in Postan, British War Pro- 
duction, pp. 187-88. 

' - (1) Memo, Brig Gen Christmas for CofOrd, 
25 May 4a, sub: Guiberson Engine Contracts, 
OO 160/160298; (2) Memo, Col James E. B. 
Mclnerney for CofOrd, 8 Jun 43, sub: History 
of Authorizations and Cancellations . . . Diesel 
Engines, OHF. See also Green, Thoms on, and 
Roots. Planning Munitions for War, |ch,"x] 

' Ltr, CG Armored Force to CG SOS, 29 Apr 
42, sub: Engine for Tanks. . . , Ord ExecO file. 
The development of tank engines is treated at 
length in Green, Thomson, and Roots, Planning 
Munitions for War, |Chapter X| See also Daniel 
Chase, Design, Development and Production of 
Tanks in World War II, 15 Aug 44, pp, i02ff; 
Statement by Colonel Christmas in Review of the 
Prod Plans of the TCVD, 25 Feb 42, pp. 1 3—14; 
Tank and Combat Vehicle Sec of Hist, Engr and 
Mfg Div, OCO-D; and AGF Study No. 27, 1946, 
]>P- 95- 

" Review of the Prod Plans of the TCVD, 19 
Jun 42, p. 8. 



letter to General Clay. He pointed out that 
the War Department goal was to use only 
one type of medium tank engine and then 
outlined the reasons for continuing with 
the half-dozen existing models. He cited 
the "wide divergence of reliable opinion" 
on two points: the relative merits of diesel 
and gasoline engines, and the merits of 
liquid-cooled versus air-cooled engines. 
Furthermore, he pointed out that none of 
the American engines had yet seen exten- 
sive battle service, and all were still in 
various stages of engineering develop- 
ment. 1 ' 5 Considering all factors, ASF ap- 
proved the continued use of all existing 
engines, but their number was soon re- 
duced by elimination of the less desirable 
types. 16 


Transmissions and final drives — de- 
scribed together as power trains — were, at 
the start of the rearmament program, as 
troublesome as tank engines, but they 
were well under control by the first anni- 
versary of Pearl Harbor. The gears and 
castings needed for tank transmissions — of 
special Ordnance design and much larger 
than commercial products — were not easily 
manufactured. When American Car and 
Foundry began production of the light 
tank in 1940 it obtained transmissions from 
the Timken-Detroit Axle Company, a firm 
that had shared in their development and 
had specially equipped itself for their pro- 
duction, and from Spicer. In 1941, when 
production began on the General Grant, 
the railway equipment companies, as 
noted in the preceding chapter, obtained 
transmissions from the Mack Manufactur- 
ing Company, a pioneer in this field, and 
later also from the Iowa Transmission 
Company. The Detroit Arsenal not only 

made its own transmissions but also sup- 
plied other contractors. At the outset, 
Ordnance purchased transmissions from 
the producers and furnished them as 
"government free issue" to tank contrac- 
tors, but later Ordnance stepped out of the 
picture and let the tank builders buy 
transmissions direct. During the winter of 
1941-42, as requirements mounted, Ord- 
nance took steps to create monthly capac- 
ity for over five thousand medium tank 
transmissions. The Buick Division of 
General Motors, the Ford Motor Com- 
pany, the Reed Roller Bit Company, and 
Caterpillar Tractor all came into the pro- 
gram and by the end of 1942 production 
had caught up with demand. 17 

Lack of machine tools was at the root 
of the delay in transmission production 

1 •"' Ltr, Brig Gen Christmas, T-AC, To Maj Gen 
Clay, ASF, 17 Jun 43, sub: Medium Tank and 
Allied Vehicle Engine Installations, OO 470.8/75. 
See also Min of Tank Engine Conf held by the 
Director of Materiel, ASF, 29 Jun 43, copy in 
OCO-Detroit file in folder marked Tank, Me- 

111 2d Indorsement, Brig Gen Christmas, T-AC, 
to Col Mclnerney, 9 Jul 43, on basic Memo, 
CG ASF for CofOrd, 26 Jun 43, sub: Review of 
Tank Program, OO 470.8/929. For detailed dis- 
cussion of tank engine development and test, sec 
Green, Thomson, and Roots, Planning Muni- 
tions for War, phaptcr X. | 

17 (1) D. J. Crowley, Report of Production- 
Transmissions and Final Drives, T643-C ; (2) 
Hist, Chicago Ord Dist, I, pt. 2, pp. 368-76 and 
107. ch. 2; f-j ) Hist, Detroit Ord Dist, 100, pt. 
2, summary history of Timken-Detroit Co., 22 
Feb 45; (4) 2d Indorsement, CG T-AC to 
CofOrd, 9 Jul 43, on Memo of CG ASF for 
CofOrd, 26 Jun 43, sub: Review of Tank Program, 
OO; (5) Historical Record World War 
II, by Mack Manufacturing Corporation, p. 3 
and pp. 47-48, [hereafter cited as Hist, Mack 
Mfg Corp.], filed as Hist, New York Ord Dist, 
vol. too, pt. 10, OHF; (6) The Design, Develop- 
ment and Prod of Tanks in World War II, PE 
Components. For further data on Mack power 
trains for medium tanks, see History, New York 
Ordnance District, 100, Part [4. 



during 1 94 1. In the case of one contrac- 
tor, the Mack Manufacturing Corporation, 
production was hindered by the firm's 
inability to get delivery on four vertical 
boring mills. In the fall of 1940 Mack had 
made the first two M3 medium tank trans- 
missions for Ordnance by hand, but volume 
production had to await the installation of 
special equipment. The first two Mack 
transmissions were described at the time 
as "the most traveled transmissions in the 
history of Ordnance," for they were sent 
to tank plants all over the country as 
pilot models. Mack and other contractors 
could not get the machine tools they 
needed before Pearl Harbor because their 
contracts carried a relatively low priority, 
but the high tank production goals set early 
in 1942 brought higher priorities and 
eventually eased the machine tool prob- 
lem. 18 


Pre- 1940 tank production did little to 
prepare American industry for manufac- 
ture of tank armor in World War II. The 
few tanks built in the 1930's were made 
with comparatively thin steel plates of high 
nickel content, face-hardened on the out- 
side. To protect light vehicles against small 
arms fire — the function of armor in the 
1930's — these face-hardened plates were 
the best known material, for they had a 
hard, bullet-resistant surface and a tough 
back. Because the metallurgical composi- 
tion of face-hardened plates made welding 
extremely difficult, the plates were riveted 
or bolted together. As a result, tanks of the 
1930's were not only lightly armored but 
had a boxlike shape, were studded with 
rivets — two thousand in every light tank 
— and offered many flat surfaces to enemy 
fire. 19 

All these characteristics went out the 
window before the war was over. Suddenly 
faced in 1940 with a demand for armor 
protection against artillery fire, Ordnance 
had to develop and produce a radically 
new type of tank. One-inch armor gave 
way to 3-inch and 4-inch steel hulls, and 
by 1945 study was being made of armor 
from five to ten inches thick. Face- 
hardened plates were supplanted by homo- 
geneous armor that permitted the welding 
of joints and speeded production. 20 Flat, 
angular surfaces gradually disappeared as 
cast hulls and turrets with rounded con- 
tours — less vulnerable to enemy fire — came 
into production. Meanwhile the use of 
nickel and other scarce alloys was re- 
duced, and new techniques were developed 
for welding, casting, and heat-treating 
tank steel. The armor on 1945 tanks was 
as different from that on 1939 models as 
the 90 -mm. gun was from the 37-mm. on 
prewar tanks. More than any other factor, 
it accounted for the doubling and tripling 
of tank weights, for armor accounted for 
more than half the weight of World War 
II tanks. 21 

18 (1) Knight Memo, 16 May 45; (2) Hist, 
Mack Manufacturing Corporation, pp. 3-4, and 

lu ( 1 ) Brig. Gen. Gladeon M. Barnes, "Super- 
tanks," Army Ordnance, XXII, No. 131 (March 
-April 1942), 735-37; (2) PP 77, Armor Plate, 
Development and Production, 1940-45. by Daniel 
Chase, Jul 45, OHF. 

*" Homogeneous armor has, insofar as possible, 
the same physical and chemical composition 
throughout, unlike face-hardened armor that is 
harder on one side than on the other. 

21 For an account of armor research and de- 
velopment, see Green, Th omson, and R oots, 
Planning Munitions for rVar, \ Chapter XI IlJ For 
conservation of alloy steel, see | Chapter XVIII.| 
Progress in armor development is described briefly 
in Summary of the War Department Metallurgi- 
cal Research during World War II, n.d., Pages 
19-22, R&D files, OHF, and in History, Water- 
town Arsenal, XV, OHF. 



As early as 1938 Ordnance had 
achieved some success, after years of ex- 
perimentation, in welding a medium tank 
turret of face-hardened plate. The ad- 
vantages of welding over riveting were 
readily recognized, but the difficulty of the 
process delayed its adoption until 1941. 
Early that year two welded M3 medium 
tank hulls were produced, one by the 
Carnegie-Illinois Steel Corporation and the 
other by Rock Island Arsenal. 22 The most 
troublesome problem at the start was find- 
ing a way to keep the plates from buckling 
during the welding process, and to elimi- 
nate cracks that appeared in the armor. 
Working on the light tank, the Cadillac 
plant tried reinforced fixtures but the 
plates buckled even in the strongest frames. 
To aid in overcoming these difficulties the 
Ferrous Metallurgical Advisory Board 
formed a subcommittee on the welding of 
armor. Composed of industry and Army 
members, this subcommittee studied 
methods, procedures, and specifications 
and periodically submitted its recommen- 
dations. It was only after countless experi- 
ments by all the producing firms that a 
complicated procedure of welding opera- 
tions was devised that partially solved the 
problem, but the real solution lay in 
switching to homogeneous plate. 23 

The switch to homogeneous armor was 
prompted by several factors in addition to 
the welding problem. For one thing, face- 
hardened armor was so difficult to pro- 
duce and hard to machine that its use in 
the expanded tank program of 1941-42 
was out of the question. Building thou- 
sands of tanks with face-hardened plate 
would have made impossible demands on 
an economy in which manpower and ma- 
chine tools were at a premium. Homo- 
geneous armor was not only easier to 
produce but could be produced either by 

rolling or casting. The case for homo- 
geneous armor was further strengthened 
when test firing showed that, if properly 
sloped, it had resistance to penetration 
substantially equal to face-hardened 
armor. An additional advantage was that 
homogeneous armor had less tendency 
toward "back spalling," i.e., splintering of 
the back under impact of a projectile. As 
a result, homogeneous armor was author- 
ized for all areas where a sloped surface 
could be presented to the enemy. 24 

The next step in the process of tank 
armor development came with the use of 
cast armor. Before 1940 neither the U.S. 
Army nor any other army in the world had 
made use of such armor except at points, 
such as the transmission housing, where 
the shape and contour were such that 
plates could not readily be used. 25 In 
1939 the General Steel Castings Corpora- 
tion of Eddystone, Pa., designed and pro- 
duced for Ordnance a one-piece cast upper 
hull, claimed to be the first of its kind 
ever produced. 26 In June 1940 procure- 

The Design, Development and Prod of Tanks 
In World War II, vol. II, EE Components, p. 29. 
For an account of the welding methods adopted, 
see the article by William Osha, "Transition from 
Riveted to Welded Tank Construction," Army 
Ordnance , XXVI, No. 142 (January-February 
1944), 120-22. Mr. Osha was general welding 
foreman at Berwick plant of ACF. 

2:1 ( 1 ) Hist, Engr and Mfg Div, OCO-D, sec. 
on light tanks; (2) Cadillac Motor Car Division 
History of World War II, pp. 22-27; (3) Chase, 
PP 77, pp. 32-44. For history of the Ferrous 
Metallurgical Advisory Board's subcommittee on 
welding of armor, see History, Watertown Arsenal, 
105, OHF. 

-' (1) Chase, PP 77. pp. 15-16; (2) Hist, Chi- 
cago Orci Dist, I, pt. 1, pp. 169-70. 

- r ' Hist. Chicago Ord Dist, I, pt. 1, pp. 156-57. 
(0 Hist, Phila Ord Dist, vol. roo, pt. 1, 
Historical Report of General Steel Castings Cor- 
poration; (2) Knight Memo, 16 May 45, pp. 
8-9; (3) M. H. Pettit, In Review, 1945, a 
personal historical narrative in History, Industri- 
al Service, Executive Division, vol. 100, OHF. 



ment of a 6-ton cast upper hull for the 
new M3 medium tank was authorized. 
When ballistic tests of the first models — 
described as resembling "inverted bath- 
tubs for elephants" — showed excellent re- 
sults the cast hull was adopted as an 
alternate type, and further development 
was pushed. In September 1940 the Fer- 
rous Metallurgical Advisory Board formed 
a subcommittee on cast armor to draft 
specifications and to advise on production 
techniques. The cast hull, formed all in 
one piece, not only eliminated the need for 
riveting or welding together over one 
hundred separate plates and castings, but 
also facilitated the production of hulls with 
rounded contours. 

In the fall of 1941, and again in Janu- 
ary 1942, when tank requirements were 
doubled and redoubled, the chief armor 
procurement problem was enlarging pro- 
duction capacity for armor of all kinds — 
face-hardened and homogeneous plate and 
castings of many shapes and sizes. Some 
armor-making capacity had been created in 
1939 and 1940 but it was wholly inade- 
quate to meet the needs of 194 1-42. 27 
Beginning in September 1941, Ordnance 
arranged for the expansion, with Defense 
Plant Corporation financing, of nearly all 
existing cast armor plants, notably Ameri- 
can Steel Foundries, Continental Foundry 
and Machine Company, and the General 
Steel Castings Corporation. The Ford 
Motor Company built a foundry with a 
capacity of ten thousand tons per month, 
of which nearly half was to be cast armor. 28 
Two safe manufacturers, Diebold and 
Mosler, produced face-hardened plate. 
Early in 1942, when production of rolled 
armor also had to be increased, leading 
steel producers, such as Republic Steel, 

Henry Disston and Sons, and Carnegie- 
Illinois, expanded their rolling mills. The 
latter corporation not only operated the 
government-owned Gary Armor Plant in 
Indiana next to its Gary steel mill, the 
largest of its kind in the world, but also 
enlarged its plant at Farrell, Pa. American 
Car and Foundry, a pioneer in the field, 
expanded its capacity for making armor 
plate for light tanks and eventually became 
the largest producer of face-hardened 
armor plate in the United States. The 
Pacific Car and Foundry Company of Ren- 
ton, Washington, enlarged an existing 
foundry to make its own armor and thus 
avoid heavy shipments from the Chicago 
area to the West Coast. 29 The Standard 
Steel Spring Company of Detroit contrib- 
uted greatly to the program when it be- 
came the co-ordinating agency for a pool 
of firms that normally made automobile 
springs, bumpers, and related equipment. 
The need to build a new plant was avoided 
when the facilities of these firms were used 

27 Knight Memo, 16 May 45, p. 9. On produc- 
tion of heavy homogeneous plate for the Navy, 
see Lt. Cmdr. Buford Rowland and Lt. William 
B. Boyd, U.S. Navy Bureau of Ordnance in World 
War II, Chapter 3. 

28 For a tabulation of all cast armor foundries, 
see ex. 1 in D. J. Crowley and Lt. W. Cadogan, 
Narrative History of Cast Armor Procurement 
Program 1940-45, 30 Jun 45, filed in study De- 
velopment and Procurement of Cast and Rolled 
Armor Plate, OCO-D, Jul 45, OHF. See also 
editor's note in Army Ordnance, XXII, No. 130, 
(January-February 1942), 539, and monthly 
Production Analysis Notes, TCVD, 1942. 

-" D. J. Crowley, History of Rolled Armor Plate 
Procurement for the Ordnance Department Tank 
and Combat Vehicle Program, [30 Jun 45], filed 
in study Development and Procurement of Cast 
and Rolled Armor Plate, OCO-D, Jul 45, OHF. 
This history contains a chronological list of all 
armor plate facility expansions. For detailed in- 
formation, see weekly reports by General Christmas 
in History, OCO-D, Volume 107, OHF. 



to cut, harden, straighten, and machine 
rolled plate received from steel mills. 30 
By the time plans for armor production 
were well in hand the first cutbacks came 
in September 1942. The Army Supply Pro- 
gram published at that time dropped the 
requirement for heavily armored assault 
tanks, thus reducing the cast armor re- 
quirement from about 77,000 tons per 
month to 57,000. When the over-all pro- 
gram for tanks and other combat vehicles 
was further cut in November the armor- 
producing plants felt the effect immedi- 
ately. Expansions under way were abruptly 
canceled, and Ordnance began a detailed 
review of its future needs. 31 In selecting 
plants to be closed down, Ordnance was 
guided by the desire to retain in produc- 
tion three types of plants: the older facil- 
ities, those in advanced state of completion, 
and those with excellent production rec- 
ords. Wherever possible, excess plants were 
converted to other war production through 
transfer to the Air Force, Navy, or Mari- 
time Commission. 82 

In the spring of 1941, while American 
Car and Foundry was producing early 
model light tanks at its Berwick plant in 
Pennsylvania, the Cadillac Division of 
GMC proposed to Ordnance that a light 
tank be built with twin Cadillac engines 
and automatic transmission, then a new 
development in the automotive industry. 
Ordnance was reluctant to change from 
the air-cooled engine, but the need for tank 
engines was acute and test reports on a 
Cadillac-powered model were favorable. 
Furthermore, the Cadillac engine was eas- 
ier to start; it operated better at idling 
speeds; and the hydramatic transmission 
made the tank driver's job much easier. 
In October 1941 a Cadillac-powered tank 
proved its durability by running under its 
own power all the way from Detroit to 
Aberdeen, a distance of over five hundred 
miles. In the course of installing its engine 
and transmission in the standard M3 light 
tank, Cadillac had made so many design 
changes that, when adopted, the tank was 
given a new model number, M4, later 

Light Tanks: M2A4 to M24 

In terms of numbers produced, light 
tanks led the procession in 1939, 1940, 
and 1 94 1. These 13- to 18-ton machines 
mounting 37-mm. guns were the first 
American tanks to come into production in 
1940 and in 1941 outnumbered medium 
tanks by nearly two to one. They were 
used effectively by the British in North 
Africa in 1941-42, particularly as recon- 
naissance vehicles. But in 1943 they fell 
behind as the demand for more powerful 
tanks continued and production of Grants 
and Shermans gained momentum. In 1945 
the number of light tanks produced was 
less than half the number of mediums. 33 

30 (1) Campbell, The Industry-Ordnance Team, 
pp. 397-38; (2) PP 77, P- 75; (3) Cadillac 
Motor Car Division Hist of World War II, pp. 
:i. r >-n6; (4) Knight Memo, 16 May 45; (5) E. 
L. Warner, Jr., "Changing over to Tanks," Auto- 
motive and Aviation Industries, 86, 15 Apr 47, 
P- '7- 

'" Memo, Maj Gen Clay for Lt Gen Somervell, 
14 Dec 42, sub: Construction Stopped by Ord, 
Folder 400, Rqmts-Gen-r94;i, ASF Prod Div. See 
also Memo, Col C. D. Wiman for Brig Gen 
Christmas, I Nov 42, sub: Survey of Problems 
Relative to Manufacture of Medium Tanks with 
Cast Upper Hull, copy in Gen Clancy's file, OCO 

-D, D56-347. 

:l - For a listing of facilities and Ordnance plans 
for closing each, see Memo, Brig Gen Christmas, 
T-AC, to CofOrd, 5 Dec 42, sub: Revision of 
Armor Plate Facilities, with Incls, OHF, folder 
marked Armor Plate Facilities. 

Whiting, Statistics. For correspondence, sec 
folder marked Tank, Light in OCO-Detroit file. 



changed to M5 to avoid confusion with the 
M4 Sherman tank. 34 

The M5 was the first combat vehicle to 
use the new automatic transmission, which 
soon gained widespread acceptance. 35 The 
first tank came off the Cadillac assembly 
line in Detroit at the end of March 1942, 
and in July the Cadillac plant at South- 
gate, California, turned out its first tank. 
Meanwhile another producer, the Massey- 
Harris Company, a farm implement firm, 
came into the picture. It took over the 
former Nash-Kelvinator plant in Racine, 
Wis., rounded up the needed machine tools, 
and, with the aid of Cadillac, got into 
production as an assembly plant for the 
M5. In October 1943, American Car and 
Foundry switched to the M5 and produc- 
tion of M3's stopped altogether. 36 

The changeover from automobiles to 
tanks at the Cadillac plant was accom- 
plished speedily, but not without the usual 
conversion problems. Makeshifts were the 
order of the day, for new equipment spe- 
cially designed for tank production was 
virtually unobtainable. Because jigs and 
fixtures, so essential to mass production, 
take a long time to make, Cadillac did 
without them at the start, building its 
first tanks almost by hand. The company 
sent representatives all over the country 
to look for used machine tools, and, as it 
did not itself plan to manufacture scores of 
tank parts, to discover sources of parts 
supply. In January 1942 it set up a "parts 
clinic" in its new car show room exhibit- 
ing 189 tank parts and inviting potential 
suppliers to examine them and quote 
prices on such items as oil pumps, axle 
housings, clutch drums, herringbone 
gears, and axle shafts. 37 

In the post-Pearl Harbor drive to build 
twenty-five thousand light tanks a year, 
Ordnance created another new facility, the 

Quad Cities Tank Arsenal at Bettendorf, 
Iowa. Purchasing adjoining plants owned 
by three private firms — one in bankruptcy 
— Ordnance contracted with the Interna- 
tional Harvester Company to operate them 
as an integrated unit. The roof was re- 
paired, new concrete flooring laid, and 
new wiring installed throughout so that 
International Harvester could build a new 
model tank known as the T-7 at a rate of 
750 per month. The arsenal was intended 
to be purely an assembly plant, with en- 
gines, transmissions, final drives, and all 
other components coming in from subcon- 
tractors, but the arsenal did some machin- 
ing and welding of hulls, turrets, and 
rings. 38 

The history of the Quad Cities arsenal 
during 1942 shows the tank program in its 
worst light. At the start there was great 
demand for speed, high rates of production, 
and a "cost be damned" attitude. The 
company placed orders for two thousand 

J4 For an account of the conversion of the M3 
to the M5, see Cadillac Motor Car Division 
History of World War II, pp. 140-51; Cadillac 
— From Peace to War, booklet prepared by GMC, 
14. Apr 44, filed as History, Detroit Ordnance 
District, Volume 110, and Chase, The Design, De- 
velopment and Production of Tanks in World 
War II, 1 5 Aug 44. All in OHF. 

:,B See praise for the M5 in letter, Devers to 
Maj Gen Campbell, 24 Oct 42, copy in Gen 
Glancy's file, OCO-D, D56-347. 

( 1 ) Chase, The Design, Development and 
Prod of Tanks in World War II, 15 Aug 44; (2) 
Memo, Brig Gen Christmas for Maj Gen Hayes, 
acting CofOrd, 9 Nov 42, sub: Revised ASP: 
Light Tanks, Gen Glancy's file, OCO-D, D56- 

37 Cadillac Motor Car Div Hist of World War 
II, pp. 20-42. This history provides the best 
account of specific production problems and 
methods to be found in the Ordnance historical 

J 8 Hist, Chicago Ord Dist, vol. 107, ch. 2, sec. 
entitled Quad Cities Tank Arsenal, OHF. See 
also John C. Furnas, "Good-by Contract!" Satur- 
day Evening Post, June 2, 1945, p. 18. 



new machine tools with firms that were 
already swamped with tool orders and 
could not promise delivery for months. 
More than three thousand drawings were 
needed for the complete tank but, as 
Rock Island was still at work on the pilot 
models, the drawings were not available. 
As the priority rating for the plant was not 
high enough to give it a green light, count- 
less hours were spent in trying to expedite 
the project. Then in the middle of the 
summer Ordnance decided upon a major 
change of design — equipping the tank 
with a 75-mm. rather than a 57-mm. gun. 
This meant redesigning the turret and 
adding to the over-all weight of the vehicle. 
Even before the gun was changed, the 
tank, originally expected to weigh be- 
tween eighteen and twenty tons, was up 
to twenty-five tons. The added weight was 
too much for the engine and made the 
tank slow and hard to steer. To remedy the 
deficiencies as they appeared, Rock Island 
issued hundreds of revised drawings every 
month, and continued to do so until near 
the end of the year when the contractor 
and Ordnance representatives finally 
agreed to freeze the design. The first es- 
sentially complete tanks were shipped in 
December 1942 just as cutbacks in all tank 
production were taking effect. Scheduled 
production at Quad Cities was then 
scaled down and discontinued completely 
in April 1943, after completion of only 
thirteen tanks. 39 

Meanwhile the Marmon-Herrington 
Company of Indianapolis undertook pro- 
duction of the M22, an 8-ton airborne 
tank, and Ordnance began planning to 
switch from the M5 to a more powerful 
light tank, the M24. In the spring of 
1944 manufacture of the M5 at ACF, 
Cadillac, and Massey-Harris was discon- 
tinued. ACF dropped out of tank produc- 

tion at this time after having produced 
over fifteen thousand tanks, more than 
half the entire wartime output of light 
tanks. In 1944 and 1945, Cadillac and 
Massey-Harris, the only two producers, 
turned out a total of 4,731 M24 tanks 
mounting the 75-mm. gun and weighing 
approximately 20 tons. 40 

The Shift From Grants to 
Shermans in 1942 

The most far-reaching change in pro- 
duction plans for medium tanks during 
1942 was the shift from the Grant (M3) 
to the Sherman (M4). 41 From the very 
start, the Grant had come in for a lot of 
criticism. It had been hurriedly designed in 
r 940, after the German offensive had dem- 
onstrated the unsuitability of existing 
mediums. It went into production in 
spite of inadequate test and development 
because it was more advanced than the 
design that later became the Sherman. 42 
During its initial production, when the 

(r) Hist, Chicago Ord Dist, vol. 107, ch. 2, 
sec. entitled Quad Cities Tank Arsenal; (a) Gen- 
eral Report on Military Tank Production, 20 May 
43 (revised 14 Aug 43), War Projects Unit, Bur 
of the Budget, OHF ; (3) Abstracts of Field Re- 
ports on Tank Production, Jan 44, Bur of the 
Budget, OO 470.8/927 Tanks. 

" J Chase, The Design, Development and Prod 
of Tanks in World War II, 15 Aug 44. For de- 
scription of the M24, and comparison with M r >Ai, 
see Catalog of Standard Ordnance Items, vol. I. 
Procurement of the airborne tank is described in 
Green, Thomson, and R oots, Planning Munitions 
for War, ] Pages 318-20. | 

1 1 For figures showing requirements and sched- 
uled production of the two models, sec Master 
Schedule, 25 Nov 42, prepared by Ord Ind Div, 
p. 20, copy in OCO-D file. See also Memo, 
Brig Gen Christmas for Maj Gen Hayes, acting 
CofOrd, 8 Nov 42, sub: Revised ASP: Medium 
Tanks, Gen Glancy's file, OCO-D, D56-347. 

' - The British Churchill tank had a similar 
history. See Postan, op. cit., pp. 192-93. 



inevitable "bugs" were being eliminated, 
engineering changes were authorized at the 
rate of three thousand per month. They 
ranged from minor modifications in track 
design to major changes in the shape of 
the hull or turret. The riveted hull of the 
early Grants gave way to a welded hull on 
later models, and the welded hull on the 
first Shermans eventually gave way to a 
cast upper hull. 43 

The shift from Grants to Shermans was 
gradual, starting in July 1942 when the 
first Shermans were made by the Fisher 
Tank Arsenal, which, unlike the Chrysler 
arsenal, had been designed with production 
of Shermans in mind. Chrysler produced 
its first Sherman in July 1942 and closed 
out production of Grants on 3 August and 
the railway equipment companies followed 
suit. The nearly five thousand Grant tanks 
built in 1942 remained in service during 
1943 as "limited standard" and were not 
declared obsolete until early in 1944. They 
posed a major problem of disposal for 
Ordnance. "We are beginning to run into 
the motor car dealer's problem," Colonel 
Christmas commented. "Our customers, 
the fighting men, want only the latest 
models." 44 Some Grants were converted 
to tank recovery vehicles, i.e., their heavy 
guns were removed and replaced by 
powerful winches for towing disabled 
tanks. Others were used for instructional 
purposes by Ordnance evacuation com- 
panies and by Engineer training centers. 
The rest of the Grants were dismantled, 
with usable parts salvaged and the remain^ 
der disposed of as scrap. 45 

Discontinuance of the Grant models did 
not completely simplify the matter by any 
means, for there were five different models 
of the Sherman tank in production in the 
United States by the end of 1942. 46 The 
essential differences were in the engines. 

The original M4 was powered by a Con- 
tinental radial aircraft engine. The M4A1 
also used the Continental radial engine but 
had a cast rather than a welded upper 
hull, and improved surface contour. The 
M4A2, shipped in large quantities to the 
Soviet Union and the British, was powered 
by twin General Motors diesels. The M4A3 
had a Ford GAA, and the M4A4, which 
went to the British, had the multibank 
Chrysler engine. The designation M4A5 
was assigned a model with a 57-mm. gun 
produced in Canada for Canadian use, 
often called the Canadian Ram. The M4A6 
was powered by a radial air-cooled diesel- 
type engine manufactured by the Cater- 
pillar Tractor Company. 47 

The armament of the M4 tanks intro- 
duced further complications. The original 
design mounted a 75-mm. gun as its main 
weapon, but later models were equipped 
with the high velocity 76-mm. gun, and a 
few were supplied with 1 05-mm. howitzers. 
Early in 1944 limited procurement of a 
heavily armored "assault tank" known as 

4:1 For a brief summary of the shift from Grants 
to Shermans, see appendix A of Outline of Tank 
Procurement, May 1942, Report No. 7. See also 
Warner, "Changing Over to Tanks," Automotive 
and Aviation Industries, vol. 86 (April 15, 
i94a), 17- 

44 Review of Production Plans of TCVD, ai 
May 4a. See also Ltr, Maj Gen Hayes, acting 
CofOrd, to Brig Gen Christmas, 5 Nov 42, sub: 
Mtg held in Gen Somervell's Office, 4 Nov 42, 
in Gen Glancy's file, OCO-D, D56-347. 

4n OCM 23185, 16 Mar 44. 

4(i Memo, ACofS (Maj Gen T. T. Handy) for 
CG AGF, 28 Dec 42, sub: Assignment of Tanks, 
AGF file 470.8. For discussion of modifications 
desired by the Armored Force, and the production 
problems they entailed, see The Design, Develop- 
ment and Production of Tanks in World War II, 
sec. EB Medium Tanks, pp. 30-21, 

47 For data on production and distribution of 
these tanks, see Statistical Work Sheets, 1 Sep- 
tember 1945, Volume 4a, the final report in this 
series of monthly reports by OCO-D. 



the M4A3E2 was authorized. 48 As pro- 
duction of the new heavy tank M26 got 
under way early in 1945, productioh of 
mediums was gradually scaled down and 
ended in July 1945 after some 57,000 had 
been built. 

Tank Depots 

The experience of 1940-41 demon- 
strated that it was not practical for the 
tank plants to install the scores of minor 
accessories — radios, spare parts, small 
arms, first aid equipment, interphones, and 
Chemical Warfare items — needed to make 
a tank fully ready for battle. Unavoidable 
delays in getting delivery on all such 
items slowed down production at the fac- 
tories, and the spectacle of scores of 
nearly complete tanks standing for weeks 
outside factories waiting for some small 
parts had a bad effect on labor morale. 
Further, as supply of many of these acces- 
sories was the responsibility of the Govern- 
ment, not of the contractor, Ordnance 
considered it more sensible to install this 
"On Vehicle Materiel" itself rather than 
disperse it to the contractors' plants. It 
was for this purpose, along with others, 
that the tank depots were established. 49 

The depots were intermediate facilities 
that received tanks from manufacturers in 
a reasonably complete condition, installed 
required items, made any special modifi- 
cations needed, prepared tanks for ship- 
ment, and stored them until shipping in- 
structions were issued. In January 1942 
Ordnance took over the New York Central 
Railroad shops in Toledo as its first tank 
depot, and soon contracted with the Elec- 
tric Auto-Lite Company for its operation. 
Two others were opened shortly, both op- 
erated by the Ford Motor Company. The 
first was at Chester, Pennsylvania, and the 

second at Richmond, California. Both were 
Ford assembly plants and were well lo- 
cated for both rail and water shipment. In 
December 1942, when work on a proposed 
gun plant at Lima, Ohio, was discontin- 
ued, the plant was taken over as a tank 
depot, soon replacing Toledo. It was oper- 
ated by the United Motors Service Division 
of GMC. The Longue Pointe depot at 
Montreal, Canada, was a Canadian Army 
installation used by Ordnance primarily 
for processing tanks and other vehicles 
shipped to the United Kingdom on lend- 
lease. 50 

Early in the war, when most overseas 
shipments of tanks went to other nations 
on lend-lease, it was discovered that some 
standard U.S. equipment was not suitable 
for those countries. British rather than 
American radios had to be put in tanks 
going to the United Kingdom or Russia, 
and all tanks destined for British Army use 
were equipped with sand shields, smoke 
generators, and a smoke bomb thrower. To 
avoid confusion at the plants, the depots 
were given responsibility for installing this 
special equipment. Meanwhile field reports 
on defects and proposed modifications 
were received by Ordnance, and, on tanks 
already built, the approved changes were 
made at the depots. In addition, major 
modifications were made on certain ve- 
hicles to meet special needs, as when some 

48 Catalog of Standard Ord Items, vol. I, pp. 
18-22, 1 Mar 44, and pp. 23-24A, r Oct 44. 
For correspondence on the change-over to 76-mm. 
guns, see G-4 file 472 — vol I. 

ia (1) Tank Depot sec. in Hist, Engr and Mfg 
Div, OCO-D, vol. 7, pt. I; (2) Campbell, op. 
cit., p. 229; (3) C. H. Coster, PSP 74, Report 
oh Industrial Service Tank Depots, 8 May 45, 
OHF; (4) Industrial Service Tank Depot Opera- 
tions, Final Issue (January 1942 through Decem- 
ber 1945) prepared by OCO-D, OHF. 

50 Coster, op. cit. 



medium tanks were converted to mine 
exploders and other tanks and gun motor 
carriages were converted to prime 
movers. 81 

The early experience with shipment of 
vehicles overseas "in accord with best com- 
mercial practice" was disastrous. The tanks 
arrived in badly damaged condition after 
a long sea voyage. Special techniques had 
then to be worked out to protect the en- 
gines, fire control instruments, and other 
parts from damage by rough handling or 
exposure to salt water. Accessories were 
individually packed in boxes and stowed 
inside the vehicles. Engines were protected 
with an internal coating of preservative 
oil and an external rust-preventive spray. 
After a desiccant was hung in the engine 
and crew compartments, these sections 
were sealed with a waterproof tape. The 
guns were treated with a heavy rust pre- 
ventive and sealed at the muzzle. To permit 
the vehicle to be towed and steered without 
breaking the sealing tape, cables were at- 
tached to the steering levers and brought 
out through the bow gun mount. 52 

The worst problem for the depots at the 
peak of tank production was the failure of 
accessory shipments to keep pace with 
tank shipments. Tanks reached the depots 
with innumerable shortages of tools, 
equipment, and supplies. The situation 
grew more critical all during 1942, with 
more than ten thousand tanks deadlined in 
November when tracks were in extremely 
short supply. The shortage of tracks 
stemmed chiefly from lack of alloy steel 
and the doubling of demand for spares. 
The tank producers appealed directly to 
the WPB for more track steel, and Ord- 
nance assigned expediters to follow up all 
types of parts. 53 In January, General 
Christmas forbade manufacturers to ship 
tanks to depots unless completely equipped 

according to the latest On- Vehicle Materiel 
List. By March 1943 the shortages on 
vehicles at depots, which had averaged 
forty items per vehicle in November, had 
dropped to three. 5 * 

The 1943-45 Period 

By the spring of 1943 light and medium 
tanks were rolling off the assembly lines of 
sixteen plants at the rate of about four 
thousand per month. This was roughly 
half the designed capacity of the plants, 
not counting Quad Cities Arsenal, which 
stopped producing tanks in April. The 
over-all capacity of 7,705 tanks per month 
had been created during the preceding two 
years at a cost to the government of ap- 
proximately $250,000,000 for tools, equip- 
ment, and buildings. In May 1943 a 
representative of the Bureau of the Budget 
was able to report that, all things con- 
sidered, the tank program had "gone very 
well," with most of the contractors getting 
into production with surprising prompt- 
ness. But he raised serious questions on 
two points: the wide variations among the 

Lecture, Lt Col George W. White, Wartime 
Difficulties in the Production of Combat and 
Motor Transport Vehicles, p. 4, 16 Feb 48, ICAF, 

( 1 '! Hist, Phila Ord Dist, vol. 104, pt. 1, 
containing Inspection Dir of the Chester Tank 
Depot; (2) Intraoffice Memo, Maj Samuel R. 
McCluney to Lt Gerber, 22 Jun 42, sub: Inter- 
mediate Depot Opns, Hist, OCO-D, vol. 107. 

5:1 Ltr, C. M. Burgess, president Burgess-Norton 
Mfg. Co. to Donald M. Nelson, WPB, 4 Sep 42, 
sub: Failure of Tank Prod, copy in Hist, Ord 
Dept Industry Integration Comm. for Medium 
Tanks, sec. IX, by Maj Louis Antol, Jr., 1 Jun 
45, P4332. Development and production of tank 
tracks are discussed in Green, Th omson, and 
Roots, Planning Munitions for War, | Chapter XI 
and in weekly reports by General Christmas in 
History, OCO-D, Volume [07. 

5 '' Tank Depot sees, of Hist, Engr and Mfg Div, 



producers in the cost of tanks, as shown in 
contracts, and the need for closing plants 
no longer necessary to meet falling re- 
quirements. 68 General Glancy and other 
officials of the Tank-Automotive Center 
strongly objected to this report on the 
ground that it contained factual errors 
and drew unwarranted conclusions. 56 

The estimated costs of medium tanks 
under contract in the spring of 1943 
showed a wide spread, from $33,500 for 
the Grant tank and $42,400 for the Sher- 
man tank at the Chrysler arsenal to 
$70,000 for the Sherman tank at the 
Federal Machine and Welder Company. 
Both firms had so-called fixed price con- 
tracts, but, General Glancy pointed out, 
the prices were actually not fixed at all 
because they were subject to redetermina- 
tion and were, in fact, little more than 
estimates. Further, the operating conditions 
of the two firms were not comparable as 
the arsenal was completely government- 
owned and the Federal plant was privately 
owned, and the prices cited were for 
different models of tanks. The contract 
price for the Sherman tank at the Fisher 
arsenal was high, $67,173, but was under- 
going substantial reduction to bring it into 
line with cost data resulting from actual 
production experience. The Fisher arsenal 
soon proved to be one of the lowest-cost 
producers in the whole program. The 
other medium tank producers, holding 
cost-plus-fixed-fee contracts, showed esti- 
mated costs per Grant tank ranging from 
$58,850 at Baldwin to $67,860 at Lima. 
The fixed fees on these contracts ranged 
from a low of $2,860 per tank at Lima to 
$3,850 at Baldwin. The cost figures in 
these contracts — but not the fees — were 
clearly estimates and had no binding effect. 
They were generally based on toolroom 
production experience only, and the as- 

sumption was that they would be revised 
later as assembly line production brought 
the cost down. The companies with cost- 
plus-fixed-fee contracts were eventually re- 
imbursed for all approved costs incurred 
in producing tanks, plus the stipulated fee 
for each tank. With both CPFF and fixed 
price contracts the problem of keeping 
costs down was extremely complicated and 
continued so to the end of the war when 
final adjustments were made. 57 

The underutilization of plants was one 
of the most striking features of tank pro- 
duction all during 1943 and early 1944. 
"It has been evident," wrote a Bureau of 
the Budget representative, "that too much 
production capacity was provided. . . ." 58 
The sixteen plants placed under contract 
in 1941-42, when tank requirements were 
sky high, continued in operation until the 
last quarter of 1943 when four were 
eliminated — Lima, Pullman - Standard, 
Ford, and Pacific Car and Foundry. 59 
These cancellations reduced over-all capac- 
ity from approximately 8,000 to 6,600, but 
capacity was still more than double the 

55 Gen Rpt on Mil Tank Prod, 20 May 43 
(rev'sed 14 Aug 43), War Progress Unit, Bur of 
the Budget, OHF. This agency reached the same 
conclusions after another survey in 1944. 

50 Ltr, Brig Gen Alfred R. Glancy to Bur of 
the Budget, 5 Jul 43. See also Memo, Oscar A. 
Kaufman, staff assistant, for Glancy, 28 Jun 43, 

sub: Gen Rpt on Mil Tank Prod Both 

in 319. 1 Bur of the Budget Rpt, OCO-D, 
Glancy's file. 

37 ( 1 ) Military Tank Production, An Industry 
Review, io Mar 44, Bur of the Budget, OHF; 
(2) The Design, Development and Prod of Tanks 
in World War II, vol. II, MB Cost Data. For 
further analysis of this topic, see Smith Army and 
Economic Mobilization, Chapters XII and XIII, 

58 Military Tank Production, Progress Report, 
24 Oct 44, War Projects Unit, Bur of the Budget, 
D50-49 dr 2, copy in OHF. 

r,!l The Ford plant was needed to produce 
bombers and the locomotive plants to make rail- 
road equipment. Pacific Car and Foundry was in 
an area of labor shortage. 



rate of production. In 1944, four more 
plants stopped building tanks — American 
Car and Foundry, Baldwin, and Marmon- 
Herrington in April, and Fisher in October. 
By the end of the year capacity was down 
to about 4,000 — half what it was at the 
start of 1943 — but still more than double 
the rate of production. 60 

The excess of production capacity dur- 
ing 1943-44 eliminated some problems 
and created others. By and large, shortages 
of machine tools and materials — the two 
major bugbears of 1941-42 — eased con- 
siderably in the spring of 1943. So did the 
manpower problem in the tank industry, 
although there were always difficulties in 
some areas. The output of spare parts 
rose rapidly in relation to complete ve- 
hicles. 61 Among the new problems was 
that of arranging for the orderly transfer 
of plants and workers to other war pro- 
duction. Similarly, the accumulation of 
surplus parts and raw materials was be- 
coming a problem at plants where sched- 
ules were cut back. Efforts were made to 
divert such materiel to other tank 
manufacturers, but a report in the spring 
of 1944 on one plant that had been closed 
for months showed that millions of dollars 
worth of critical materiel — guns, gun 
mounts, cable, tools, motors, welding rods, 
and so on — was still on hand. 82 

Production declined during each of the 
first five months of 1944, but invasion of 
Europe in June reversed the trend. The 
rise in output during the latter half of the 
year was gradual, for, in spite of excess 
capacity, manufacture of specific models 
could not be increased overnight — or even 
over a period of several months — to meet 
sudden increases in theater demands. In 
May 1944, for example, the ASF Require- 
ments Division declared that restudy of the 
tank picture had shown that, "we should 

push at once for as many additional 
medium tanks as we can get in 1 944." 83 
The change in calculations stemmed 
chiefly from two factors: an unexpected in- 
crease in the overseas replacement rate, and 
the large proportion of old tanks counted 
as resources in the February 1944 supply 
program. After conferring with Ordnance 
officers in Detroit, the head of the ASF 
Production Division, Brig. Gen. Hugh C. 
Minton, reported that from three hundred 
to five hundred additional Sherman tanks 
could be produced in 1944 but only "by 
applying all possible pressure to the pro- 
ducers." 64 Ordnance was immediately di- 
rected to apply the necessary pressure, but, 
because of changes in design and the need 
for retooling, production rose slowly. 65 The 
measures taken by General Campbell to 
increase output included personal visits to 
the tank plants, publicity, recruitment of 
labor, and "every other known means of 
stimulating production." 66 To break the 
bottleneck that developed in production 

f>0 The Design, Development and Prod of Tanks 
in World War II, PB Medium Tanks and Tank 
Chassis Vehicles. See also Mil Tank Prod, 24 
Oct 44. 

" 1 For furth er discussion of spare parts, see 
I Chapter XlTTl below. 

''- Mil Tank Prod, An Industry Review, 10 Mar 
44. For an excellent case history of disposition 
of excess property, see History, Philadelphia Ord- 
nance District, Volume 100, Part 10, Baldwin. 

,,a Mem, Dir Rqmts Div ASF for Clay, 22 May 
44, sub: Additional M4 Tank Prod in 1944, ASF 
Prod Div file 470.8. 

Memo, Director Prod Div, ASF for Col Lee 
A. Denson, 27 May 44, OO 470.8/1192. There 
were only three medium tank producers at this 
time — Chrysler Tank Arsenal, Fisher Tank Ar- 
senal, and Pressed Steel Car Company. 

For a brief summary of production bottle- 
necks, see Hiland G. Batcheller, A Report to the 
War Production Board, 14 Nov 44, WPB doc. 365, 
ASF Director of Materiel file. 

<il! Memo, Howard Bruce, Acting Director of 
Materiel, for Wood, 4 Jan 45 sub: Tanks, ASF 
Prod Div 470.8 — Tanks. 



Remanufacturing Light Tanks M3A3 at Red River Arsenal, Texarkana, Tex. 

of wide tracks, the "special directive treat- 
ment" was resorted to, giving wide tracks 
an overriding WPB priority that put them 
in the same class with landing craft, heavy 
artillery, and the Dukw. 67 Meanwhile, as 
theater commanders called for more and 
more tanks, Ordnance was instructed to 
launch a supplementary program for tank 

This new process — the complete over- 
haul of combat vehicles — was, in the sum- 
mer of 1944, a natural solution to the 
problem of how to increase the supply. 
During the preceding months, as one 
armored unit after another had been 
shipped overseas, the tanks they had used 
during long months of arduous training 
were withdrawn and replaced by new ve- 
hicles, with the result that large numbers 
of used tanks accumulated. Occasional 
criticism of the Army resulted when irate 

taxpayers saw these tanks standing idle in 
storage and concluded that they represen- 
ted waste of valuable war materiel. As 
early as the summer of 1943 General 
Campbell, during a trip to the West Coast, 
had explored the possibility of contracting 
with industry to recondition these tanks. 
In October 1943 he formally recommended 
to ASF that a reconditioning program be 
authorized, including a balanced with- 
drawal of tanks from troops for this pur- 
pose. It was not until June 1944, when 
the quantities of tanks left behind by 
troops going overseas had reached high 
levels, that Ordnance was assigned the 
job of overhauling and modernizing them 
so they could be shipped overseas in new- 

B7 Memo, Director ASF Prod Div for CofOrd, 
10 Jul 44, sub: Prod . . . Medium Tank. . . , 
ASF Prod Div file 473. 



tank condition. 68 The process was to start 
with a thorough cleaning of each tank 
and partial disassembly, followed by an 
overhaul of its engine, replacement of worn 
tracks, reconditioning the guns, adding 
improvements made since the original de- 
sign, and giving the whole vehicle a new 
coat of paint. The total cost of remanufac- 
ture was estimated to be about half that 
of building a new tank. After teams of 
Ordnance technicians visited Army Ground 
Forces camps to select the tanks to be 
overhauled, the work began in August 
and proceeded at the rate of six hundred 
medium tanks per month for the rest of 
the year. Light tanks, half tracks, gun 
motor carriages, and scout cars were also 
remanufactured, bringing the total for 
1944 up to more than eleven thousand 
combat vehicles. The bulk of the work was 
done at the Quad Cities Tank Arsenal, 
Evansville Ordnance Plant (converted 
from production of small arms ammuni- 
tion), and the Montreal plant of the 
American Locomotive Company. 89 

By January 1945, the demand for more 
tank production became intense and indus- 
try was once again called upon to make 
an all-out effort. Requirements for all 
types of tanks went up from 18,000 to 
22,000, and then to 25,000 in February, 
including nearly 10,000 heavy Pershing 
(M26) tanks armed with 90-mm. guns 
or 105-mm, howitzers. 70 In February, 
Ordnance reported that even though all 
tank producers were scheduled to capac- 
ity the procurement goals could not be 
reached. General Hayes, chief of the In- 
dustrial Service, stated that the tanks 
required for 1945 could be produced only 
by bringing back into production all 
former tank producers — a slow process 
that would not yield any results until 
near the end of the year, and would be 

prohibitively costly. Considering the two 
most critical components — Ford engines 
and torquematic transmissions — General 
Hayes observed that it was "extremely 
doubtful" if production could be further 
increased in 1945 by any means. 71 

By March the storm had subsided. As 
the defeat of Germany appeared more and 
more imminent, tank requirements were 
cut back and manufacturers received can- 
cellation notices. The planned expansions 
at various plants were halted. From the 
peak of 2,268 tanks accepted in March, 
production declined to about 1 ,800 in both 
April and May and then dropped to 456 
in July. By November it had stopped 
altogether 72 

Shift to Heavy Tanks in 1944-45 

Of all the various shifts and trends of 
tank production in the later war years, 
both in Germany and the United States, 

" 8 (1) Memo, Maj Gen Clay, ASF Director of 
Materiel, for CofOrd, 6 Mar 44, sub: Factory 
Overhaul. . , , OO 470.8/854 Misc.; (a) Memo, 
CofOrd for CG ASF, 9 Jun 44, sub: Tank 
. . . Overhaul, OO 470.8/1 153; (3) Memo, CG 
ASF for CofOrd, 13 Jun 44, sub: Overhaul and 
Rebuilding of Tanks . . . and correspondence 
therein cited, OO 451/3834; (4) Mil Tank Prod, 
Progress Rpt, 24 Oct 44. 

60 ( 1 ) Rpt for SW on Ord Dept Activities, 2 
Aug 44, ExecO file; (2) Mil Tank Prod, 24 Oct 
44 ; ( 3 ) The Design, Development and Produc- 
tion of Tanks in World War II, PB Medium 
Tanks; (4) Summary Rpt of Acceptance . . . , 
1940-45, OCO-D, Dec 45, p. XII. 

70 Memo, Acting Director of Materiel for CG 
ASF, 24 Jan 45, sub: Lighter Medium and Heavy 
Tank Prod, ASF Prod Div 470.8 Tanks. 

71 Memo, Maj Gen Hayes for CG ASF, 7 Feb 
45, sub: Prod Rates for Medium and Heavy 
Tanks, OO 470.8/1793. 

72 Summary Rpt of Acceptance. . . , 1940-45, 
OCO-D, Dec 45, p. XVII. See also Rpt of Board 
to Review Recommendations of the Operating 
Divs of the Ind Serv. . . , 12 Apr 45, sub: 
Readjustment of Tank Production Schedules, OO 



Heavy Tank M6, mounting a 3-inch gun, produced by Baldwin Locomotive Works, is in- 
spected by (from left) Lt. Col. David N. Hauseman, Brig. Gen. Gladeon M. Barnes, William 
H. Harmon (Baldwin official), and Capt. Arthur J. Seiler, December 1941. 

none was more important than the coming 
into its own of the heavy tank. And none 
illustrates more clearly the problems faced 
by Ordnance in developing new materiel 
under pressure and meeting rapidly chang- 
ing requirements. To see the full picture 
of changes in U.S. requirements we must 
look at two separate stages in the history 
of heavy tanks: the 1940-42 period, and 
the eleventh hour demand for heavy tanks 

in IQ44-45- 78 

During the 1930's no one had shown 
much interest in heavy tanks, but in the 
spring of 1940 Ordnance was authorized 
to proceed at once with development of 
a 50-ton tank mounting a 3-inch gun. An 
appropriation was soon made to build fifty 

tanks; a contract for their manufacture 
was placed with the Baldwin Locomotive 
Company in August 1940; and the pilot 
model was finally unveiled in a public 
ceremony on the day after Pearl Harbor. 74 
The M6 heavy tank, as it was called, had 
a cast hull between three and four inches 
thick, a 925-horsepower engine,' and 
weighed over sixty tons. It still needed a 
lot of development work to improve its 
suspension, transmission, brakes, and other 

73 For an account of tank development, see 
Green, Thomson, ar» H Roots, Planning Munitions 
for M/ar. lChapter X.I 

74 (1) Hist, Phila Ord Dist, vol. I, pt. 7, p. 
129; (a) Barnes, Weapons of World War II, pp. 



vital parts, but time was at a premium 
in the winter of 1941-42 — and the Presi- 
dent's program announced in January 
called for building five hundred heavy 
tanks in 1942 and five thousand in 1943. 
Two models of the tank were quickly 
standardized and Ordnance contracted 
with the Fisher Tank Arsenal as well as 
Baldwin to build them at the combined 
rate of 250 per month. 75 

The Army Supply Program of Septem- 
ber 1942 took the steam out of this am- 
bitious plan by cutting heavy tank require- 
ments from more than 5,000 to only 115. 
Ordnance immediately canceled its con- 
tract with Fisher and curtailed production 
at Baldwin. In December 1942, on the first 
anniversary of Pearl Harbor, General De- 
vers of the Armored Force declared that, 
because of the M6's great weight and 
limited tactical use, the Armored Force 
had no requirement for it and recom- 
mended that its production be stopped. 78 
The British later agreed, apparently be- 
cause the M6 had been intended for North 
Africa, where bridges were not a problem, 
and by early 1943 the end of the North 
African campaign was in sight. 77 In the 
summer of 1943 the Armored Force Board 
reported, on the basis of service tests, that 
the heavy tanks M6 and M6A1 were not 
acceptable because they lacked firepower 
commensurate to their weight, had obso- 
lete fire-control equipment, were equipped 
with unsatisfactory transmissions, and had 
awkwardly arranged crew compartments. 78 
As a result, only forty heavy tanks of 
the M6 series were built, nearly all of 
them in 1943. The Germans, meanwhile, 
were throwing the bulk of their tank- 
producing capacity into building the 
heavy Tiger (63-ton) and Panther (47- 
ton) tanks, in spite of their many 
mechanical deficiencies. 

While the M6 tanks were running into 
trouble, Ordnance was attempting to give 
its medium tanks more punch by equip- 
ping them with the 76-mm. high velocity 
gun and the 105-mm. howitzer, and im- 
proving their suspensions and tracks. It 
was also trying to win acceptance for the 
T-20 series of new and more powerful 
tanks to replace both the M6 and the 
Sherman, but the Army Ground Forces 
strongly opposed these efforts. 78 Then in 
June 1944, after a demonstration at Aber- 
deen before high-ranking War Department 
officials, Ordnance finally won approval of 
its plan to mount a 90-mm. gun on the 
experimental medium tank T26 and re- 
classify it as a heavy tank. 80 This marked 

75 (1) History of the Heavy Tank M6; (2) The 
Design, Development and Prod of Tanks in 
World War II, EC Heavy Tanks and PC Heavy 
Tanks; (3) OCM 18283, 2 ^ May 42, standard- 
ized the M6 and M6A1. The latter had a welded 
rather than a cast hull. The M6A2, adopted 
later, had an electric drive and a cast hull. 

76 Ltr, L. Devers, CG Armored Force to CC 
AGF, 7 Dec 42, sub: Heavy Tank, copy in 
History of Heavy Tank M6, OHF. The attitude 
of the Army Ground Forces toward Ordnance 
heavy tanks is presented in AGF Study No. 34, The 
Role of the AGF in the Development of Equip- 
ment, 1946, Chapter 6. 

77 Memo, Col Raymond R. Robins, ASF Devel- 
opment Br for ACofS, G-4, 3 May 43, sub: 
Further Notes on African Trip, G-4 file 47a. 2 
vol. I — Arty. 

78 Final Rpt, Test of Heavy Tanks M6 and 
M6A1, AFB, 12 Jul 43, copy in Hist of Heavy 
Tank M6. 

79 (1) Green, T hbmson, and Roots, Planning 
Munitions for War, |ch. Xj (2) Chase, The De- 
sign, Development and Prod of Tanks in World 
War II, 15 Aug 44, pp. 39-40; (3) Memo, 
CofOrd for CG ASF, 23 Mar 44, sub: Heavy 
Tank T 28, OO 470.8/905 Tank. This memo de- 
scribes unsuccessful Ordnance efforts to gain ap- 
proval for an 80-ton tank, with 8-inch armor and 
105-mm. gun. 

8a OCM 24277, 29 Jun 44. See also Tank Re- 
port, 1944-45, OCO-D, DC-Heavy Tanks, OHF, 
and Chase, The Design, Development and Prod 
of Tanks in World War II, 15 A u g 44> P- 4'- 



Table 20 — U.S. Tank Production, 1944-1945 







c 13,468 

rf 6, 793 

e 54 




Light Tanks 

Heavy Tanks_ _ 

a M5's and M24'». 
* All M24's. 

* Nearly all M4'b. 
d All M4' 8 . 

« Nearly all M26's. 

Source: Summary Report of Acceptances Tank-Automotive Materiel 1940—45, by OCO-D. 

the beginning of a new cycle in heavy 
tank production, inspired largely by the 
appearance during 1943 in Africa and 
Italy of heavy German tanks that were 
more than a match for the American 
mediums. Thus, long after the M6 series 
went by the board, the T26 was permitted 
to take its place in 1944, but only ten of 
these 45 -ton heavyweights were delivered 
during the first half of 1944. After ex- 
tensive tests and modifications, the new 
tank went into limited production in No- 
vember 1944 and was standardized early 
in 1945 as the heavy tank M26. Nick- 
named the General Pershing, it was prob- 
ably the best heavy tank to see action in 
World War II. But it did not arrive in 
Europe until after the worst of the fighting 
was over. Only fifty were built in 1944, 
and, all told, only seven hundred were 
built before Germany surrendered in May 
1 945. 81 {Table 20) 

with so much to be said on all sides, that 
no simple analysis can encompass the 
whole. To draw up a balance sheet fairly 
representing the views of all concerned, 
and weighing every factor in due propor- 
tion, is extremely difficult, if not impossi- 
ble. But at this point some of the essential 
data may be mentioned on which there is 
likely to be general agreement. 

Had the war been fought with light 
tanks the U.S. Army would have been as 
well equipped at the start as any army in 
the world. The M3 light tank that 
emerged in 1941 from the experimental 
work of the 1930's gave a good account of 
itself in North Africa, and its successors, 
the M5 and M24, were well received in 
the field. But the war was not fought with 
light tanks. Medium and heavy tanks 
predominated, and the U.S. Army had no 
first-rate medium or heavy tanks on hand 
in 1940. When the 1940 campaign in 

The Balance Sheet 

Arguments about American tanks in 
World War II will no doubt continue as 
long as veterans of that conflict survive to 
continue the discussion. They will con- 
tinue because the subject is so involved, 

81 (1) Green, T homson and Roots, Planning 
Munitions for War, [ch. X| (2) Barnes, Weapons 
of World War II, pp. 314-18; (3) Col. Joseph 
M. Colby, "From Designer to Fighter," Armored 
Cavalry Journal, LIX, No. 1 (1950), 12-18. An 
even heavier tank, the T28, weighing 100 tons, 
carrying 12 inches of frontal armor, and mounting 
a 105-mm. gun, was designed in 1944 but never 
reached the production stage. 



Table 21 — Comparative Table of German, British, and American Tank 

Production, 1940-1945 


German a 

British b 

American e 








d 331 















2,476 (6 months only) 



988 (1st quarter only) 


° USSBS— Tank Industry Report, ex. A. 

& Great Britain, Central Statistical Office, Statistical Digest of the War (London: His Majesty's Stationery Office, 1951), Table 

" Whiting, Statistics, Table PR-7. 

^ Includes procurement from 1 July 1939 to 31 December 1940. 

France revealed the need for tough-skinned, 
hard-hitting tanks, Ordnance had to 
rush through a drastic redesign of its 
existing medium model and begin work 
on a new heavy tank. Both the Grant 
medium and the M6 heavy were hasty 
improvisations that brought little credit 
to Ordnance, in the eyes of the Armored 
Force, and were regarded even by Ord- 
nance engineers as makeshifts. The M6 
never got into volume production, and 
the Grant was soon replaced by the Sher- 
man — a well-designed vehicle that could 
hold its own with any medium tank on the 
battlefield. The Sherman was more mobile 
and mechanically more reliable than Ger- 
man medium tanks, and had greater flexi- 
bility and rapidity of fire. The trouble was 
that it too often found itself up against 
heavy Panthers or Tigers. 82 

The lack of heavy tanks to match the 
German heavies was the crux of the prob- 
lem. In summing up the reasons for this 

lack, two items are reasonably clear: (i) 
the using arm's lack of interest in heavy 
tanks during the prewar and early war 
years, and (2) Ordnance's failure to 
come up with something better than the 
M6 in 1 94 1. The two items are closely 
related and mutually supporting. Be- 
cause the using arm expressed no desire 
for heavy tanks in the prewar years 
Ordnance made no effort to carry on the 
elaborate design and development work 
such tanks required. Because Ordnance in 
December 1941 could produce no heavy 
tank better than the primitive M6 model, 
the Armored Force was more than ever 
convinced that heavy tanks were impracti- 

' - For comparison of the medium Sherman 
with the heavy Panther in battle, see Cole, The 
Lorraine Campaign, pp. 603-04. For a collection 
of Ordnance records, see Comparison of Ameri- 
can, German and Japanese Ordnance, I, 6 May 
45, OHF. 



cal and could be dropped. Meanwhile the 
Germans, who in 1941 had no tank com- 
parable even to the M6, launched a heavy 
tank program after their encounter with 
the Russian heavyweights. The result was 
that the Germans in 1944 were able to 
oppose American Shermans with heavy 
tanks which, though far from perfect, had 
much tougher protective armor and more 
powerful guns than did the Sherman. 
Only then was Ordnance given a green 
light to proceed with production of the 
Pershing — too late to have much effect on 
the fighting in Europe. 

The best way to take the quantitative 
measure of U.S. tank production in World 
War II is to view it in comparison with 
German and British production. Qualita- 
tive considerations aside, the following 
table clearly reveals the extent to which 

the United States outproduced Germany. 
In every year except 1940 the United 
States produced more tanks than Germany 
and in the middle years of the war turned 
out from five to six times as many. (Table 


Even Britain, while subjected to in- 
tensive bombing, produced almost as many 
tanks as Germany did in 1940, and in 
1 94 1 Britain turned out more tanks than 
either Germany or the United States. 
These figures should serve to demolish 
some of the myths that have grown up 
around German tanks. They should dem- 
onstrate for all to see that German tank 
successes were due more to skilled tactical 
use, and the employment of heavy German 
tanks against Allied mediums, than to any 
failure of American industry to produce in 
quantity the tanks desired by the using 


Motor Transport Vehicles 

Military historians of the future may 
some day label World War II the "gaso- 
line engine war," or, if they prefer a more 
exact but more cumbersome title, the "in- 
ternal combustion engine war." As the 
twentieth century neared its midpoint, 
military forces everywhere, on land, at sea, 
and in the air, depended for their mobility 
on internal combustion engines, both gaso- 
line and diesel. Three of the most spectac- 
ular weapons — the tank, the airplane, and 
the submarine — were powered chiefly by 
internal combustion engines, as were the 
millions of hard-working military trucks 
that bore the brunt of the task of supply 
distribution in the- field. Although some 
experimental efforts were made to use 
new techniques such as jet propulsion and 
rocket power, they had limited application. 
The immense power of the atom, utilized 
in World War II only for the A-bomb, was 
not harnessed for submarine propulsion 
until the mid-1950's. But in all the leading 
armies of the world, gasoline and oil pro- 
vided the energy — still commonly measured 
in terms of horsepower — to drive the 
wheeled and tracked vehicles that made for 
a war of movement. 

In World War II the U.S. Army was 
better able than ever before in its history 
to take to the road on gasoline-driven 
wheels. The purchase of more than three 
and a half million motor cars and trucks 
— not counting thousands of tanks and 

other combat vehicles — marked the end of 
the horse and mule era of the Army's 
history. Although infantrymen in World 
War II still had to march mile after weary 
mile, they had at their disposal, for trans- 
port of both men and supplies, more 
trucks, cars, buses, and other vehicles 
than ever before. As in Napoleon's day, the 
armies of the world still marched on their 
stomachs, but their mobility had come to 
depend more and more on rubber tires 
and gasoline engines. 1 

The motor truck was not by any means 
a new item of military equipment in the 
1940's. Two decades earlier thousands of 
trucks went to France with the AEF and 
played a minor role in winning the war, 
but it was not until the 1940's that the 
U.S. Army really became "motorized." In 
France in 19 18 the U.S. forces had, 
roughly speaking, one truck for every forty 
men; in the European theater in 1945 the 
ratio was about one to four. 2 In the latter 
stages of World War II it was theoretically 
possible, if not feasible for practical reasons, 
to put an entire army on wheels — pile 
everyone into trucks, buses, ambulances, 

1 For a detailed discussion of this development, 
see Capt, Charles R. Kutz, War on Wheels (Har- 
risburg, Pa.: Military Service Publishing Com- 
pany, 1940). 

2 Chester Wardlow, The Transportation Corps: 
Responsibilities, Organization and O perations, 
(Washington, 1951), p. 14 and docs, therein cited. 



and other vehicles, and all take to the road 
at once. 

In one respect truck supply differed 
from every other type of Ordnance activ- 
ity: it was suddenly transferred — lock, 
stock, and barrel — from one technical serv- 
ice to another in the midst of war. On 25 
July 1942 War Department Circular 245 
formally announced the coming transfer 
from Quartermaster to Ordnance of re- 
sponsibility for transport vehicles — research 
and development, procurement, storage, 
maintenance, and distribution — virtually 
everything except the operation of the 
vehicles, which continued for a time with 
the Quartermaster Corps and other user 
arms and services. To see this transfer in 
proper perspective and to measure its 
impact on Ordnance we need to review 
Quartermaster efforts during the 1920's 
and 1930's to standardize military trucks 
and in 1940-42 to procure the thousands 
of transport vehicles needed by the rapidly 
growing Army. 3 

The Struggle for Standardization 

The experience of World War I had 
clearly revealed the need for rugged Army 
trucks that could operate over the worst 
of roads, ford shallow streams, and be 
easily repaired in the field. It had shown 
the value of the 4-wheel drive — used 
mainly in Ordnance vehicles — and the 
need for a 4-speed transmission, maximum 
ground clearance, towing hooks and 
pintles, sturdy bumpers and radiator 
guards, electric lights, and many other 
features. 4 But most of all it had shown the 
need for standardization of Army vehicles 
and an improved system to provide spare 
parts for maintenance. The mechanical 
limitations of the 19 17 model trucks were 
gradually eliminated in the postwar years 
as production of improved motor vehicles 

became one of the nation's most important 
industries, but standardization of parts 
was a more stubborn problem. Motor 
Transport officers fought so long and hard 
for their ideal, as one of them put it, 
"Standardization became almost a cuss- 
word in the Army." 5 The history of 
Army motor transport from World War I 
to World War II is largely the record of 
the Quartermaster Corps' unsuccessful 
efforts to achieve standardization. In the 
failure of these efforts lie the roots of the 
spare parts problem inherited by the Ord- 
nance Department in 1942. 8 

3 The QMG volumes in THE UNITED 
not cover this subject except for a brief summary 
in Erna Risch, The Quartermaster Corps: Or- 
ganization, Supply and Services, Volume I (Wash- 
ington, 1943), Pages 139-43, but the author is 
indebted to the QMC Historical Branch for 
permission to use the manuscript study by Vernon 
Carstensen, Motor Transport Under The Quarter- 
master General, 1903-42, copy in QMC Histor- 
ical Br, and for other assistance. 

1 For discussion of Ordnance vehicle character- 
istics, see pars. 87-89 of Westervelt Board Report. 
Development of the Ordnance 4-wheel drive truck 
is described by L. C. Freeman in Journal of the 
SAE (later the SAE Journal), V (1919), 281- 
87. For opinions of officers opposing use of 4- 
wheel drive vehicles, see answers to questionnaire 
described in manuscript entitled World War I by 
Harry Roberts, pp. 313-16, in OCMH files. The 
Roberts file is an extensive collection of notes, 
documents, and draft manuscripts on the history 
of motor transport. 

5 Address by Lt Col Edwin S. Van Deusen be- 
fore the metropolitan chapter, SAE, New York 
City, 19 Feb 42, copy in MTS files, Speeches, 
P4244. See also Maj. Gen. Edmund B. Gregory, 
"Army Motor Transport," Army Ordnance, 
XXII, No. 131 (March-April 1942), 731. 

6 For an able review and analysis of the prob- 
lem by a leading motor transport officer, see Ltr, 
Col Brainerd Taylor, CO Holabird QM Depot, 
to QMG, 16 Dec 35, sub: Standardization. 
. . , QM451 Proc Standardization Policy, NA. 
Carstensen, op. cit., provides an excellent com- 
prehensive history of the struggle for standardiza- 
tion. There is a collection of Colonel Taylor's 
articles and speeches in History, Holabird Ord- 
nance Depot, Volume 102. 



Quartermaster officers consistently ad- 
vocated the standardization concept in the 
postwar years but found their hands tied 
by Army Regulations and the laws govern- 
ing procurement. These laws and regula- 
tions, as interpreted by the Comptroller 
General, required that contracts be 
awarded to the lowest responsible bidder 
and forbade the QMC to issue detailed 
engineering specifications for trucks. There 
was to be no Army truck of special de- 
sign but only commercial trucks with a 
few military trimmings. Nor could the 
Army adopt as standard any vehicle under 
its trade name. Specifications were limited 
to such general matters as carrying capac- 
ity, speed, and weight; those intended to 
secure uniformity of design, materials, or 
dimensions could not be allowed. 7 Each 
time the Army announced its intention of 
buying new trucks, scores of .manufactur- 
ers submitted bids. Nearly every time a 
different company was the low bidder and 
got the contract. As a result, the Army 
continued to add new makes and models 
to its heterogeneous collection of trucks 
left over from World War I. These ve- 
hicles generally performed well enough but 
they made maintenance and spare parts 
supply continuously more complicated. 

Purchase of commercial types through 
competitive bidding was defended on many 
grounds. It was, for one thing, the ac- 
cepted way of doing government business, 
and was designed to guard against favorit- 
ism or fraud. It enabled private industry 
to fill government orders from regular 
production lines and thus obviated the 
need for costly, time-consuming retooling 
of factories to meet special military re- 
quirements. In a war emergency, it was 
argued, speedy production would be more 
important than perfection of design. The 
Army would simply buy vehicles it could 

"pick up on the street." The delay in 
getting the specially designed Class B 
truck into production in World War I 
was cited as an object lesson, as was the 
Ford Motor Company's experience in 
shifting from the Model T to the Model 
A. 8 Finally, competitive bidding was de- 
fended on the ground that it enabled the 
Army to profit from competition among 
truck manufacturers and thus keep abreast 
of the latest engineering achievements 
without carrying on an elaborate research 
and development program of its own. 

While recognizing the validity of some 
of these arguments, advocates of stand- 
ardization maintained that the real prob- 
lem was ease of maintenance in the field, 
not ease of procurement. They insisted 
that standardization of parts would speed, 
not hinder, procurement in an emergency, 
for it would permit all truck makers to 
use parts already in production. They 
contended that the advantages of competi- 
tive bidding were far outweighed by the 
simplification of maintenance and parts 
supply that standardization would bring. 
They further asserted that use of commer- 
cial types made it impossible for the Army 
to develop vehicles specially designed to 
meet military requirements. 9 

7 Proposed statement on Proc of Spare Parts for 
. . . Vehicles, prepared in August 1944 by Lt Col 
Daniel J. Clifford and Maj J. A. Norman, OHF. 
See also Carstensen, op. cit., pp. 57-58, and 
World War I, Roberts file. 

s (i) Memo, ACofS G-4 for CofS, 2 Feb 32, 
sub: Rqmts for Motor Transport. . . , G-4/ 
20052-56; (2) Memo, ACofS G-4 for CofS, 10 
Jun 32, sub: Rqmts for Motor Transport. . . , 
G-4/20052-56. For an influential journalistic 
statement of the case against standardization, see 
W. F. Bradley, "Automobiles in the Great War — 
I," Scientific American Supplement, No. 21 17, 29 
Jul 16, and "Automobiles in the Great War — II," 
Ibid., No. 21 18, 5 Aug 16. 

9 The files of the QM Motor Transport Service 
contain many documents covering the standard- 



At the end of the 1920's the Quarter- 
master Corps attempted to develop a 
standard fleet by building on its experience 
with the Class B truck. Although forbidden 
by law to purchase complete vehicles ac- 
cording to detailed specifications, the Army 
was permitted to buy vehicle components 
any way it chose. In 1928, therefore, the 
QMC decided to buy enough commercial 
unit assemblies — engines, transmissions, 
axles, and so forth — to build two complete 
trucks at its Holabird depot. This was a 
step toward standardization of vehicles 
through adoption of standard commercial 
parts and assemblies, a principle that the 
Quartermaster Corps was to fight for all 
during the 1930's. 10 In the next four years 
Quartermaster engineers studied and 
tested enough major components and as- 
semblies to make up a standard fleet of 
eighteen truck chassis designed to cover 
all Army requirements. These eighteen 
chassis were divided into five groups, ac- 
cording to size, with all major parts in 
each group completely interchangeable. 
Most important, all components could be 
bought from industry and assembled 
either at privately owned plants or at 
Quartermaster motor depots. 11 Here was 
a workable plan that applied one of the 
most important lessons of World War I. 
But, in spite of being ably defended by 
Maj. Gen. John L. DeWitt, The Quarter- 
master General, it soon had to be aban- 
doned. 12 It was, for one thing, opposed 
by the Chief of Ordnance on the ground 
that it was impractical, would entail too 
much delay in procurement in time of war, 
and would not improve maintenance as 

ization question, as do the QM unclassified files 
under 451 Standardization. Specific answers to 
the G-4 memos cited above are in QM 45 1 Proc 
Standardization Policy, NA. 

much as General DeWitt thought it 
would. 13 The Chief of Staff considered 
standardization unwise in view of the con- 
tinuous engineering advances made by 
industry. Manufacturers of parts liked the 
Quartermaster plan, but many vehicle 
manufacturers strongly opposed it. 

In September 1933 the views of the 
vehicle manufacturers triumphed when 
War Department General Orders No. 9 
appeared, virtually forbidding purchase of 
parts and assembly of vehicles by the 
Quartermaster Corps. It was followed in 
the spring of 1934 by a decision of the 
Comptroller General that further hamp- 
ered the Quartermaster program by attack- 
ing the practice of buying parts for 
assembly. 14 The prevailing view was that 

10 In his annual Report for 1930 The Quarter- 
master General described the standardization plan, 
listed its advantages, and concluded they were 
"beyond dispute." The commanding officer of 
Holabird QM Depot in 1932 hailed it as "the 
most important step in the advancement of mili- 
tary motor transport that has ever taken place." 
Col. Edgar S. Stayer, "The Year's Advancement 
in Military Motor Transport," Quartermaster 
Review , XII, No. I (1932), 33. 

11 Memo, QMG for TAG, 5 Oct 31, sub: 
Standardization of Motor Truck Chassis. . . , 
QM 451 Proc Standardization Policy, NA, 

1 2 Special Report of the QMG on Procurement 
of Motor Transportation for War, Incl to Ltr 
QMG to ASW, 12 Oct 33, same sub, photostat 
copy in Roberts file. See also Carstensen, op. 
cit., wherein much of General DeWitt's correspon- 
dence is cited, particularly his Special Report. 
General DeWitt outlined the plan in Hearings, 
WDAB, H.R., 2 December 1932, 72d Cong., 2d 
sess., Part 1, pages 2i4fT. See also Stayer, "The 
Year's Advancement in Military Motor Trans- 
port," Quartermaster Review, XII, No. 1 
(1932), 33, and Maj. E. H. Holtzkemper, Stand- 
ardization of Quartermaster Corps Motor Ve- 
hicles, n.d., in folder marked Standardization 
Policy, P433O, OCO-D files. 

13 Memo, CofOrd for Maj Gen George V. H. 
Moseley, 7 Feb 31, sub: Motor Vehicle Proc 
Policy, quoted in Carstensen, op. cit., pp. 39-40. 

14 Decisions of the Comptroller General of the 
U.S., vol. 13 (1933-34), PP. a84ff (A-53405 and 



the Army should stay out of the business 
of manufacturing and assembling trucks, 
and should not carry on any automotive 
research and development. Appropriation 
acts in the middle thirties specifically for- 
bade spending money for research on 
motor vehicle standardization. 15 These 
measures, backed by political pressure 
from competing truck manufacturers, not 
only closed the door on General DeWitt's 
standardization plans but also locked and 
barred it. One motor transport officer 
tartly observed that this government policy 
was based on belief that "vehicle types 
and models that fully meet military re- 
quirements are not practicable of produc- 
tion in quantity in time of war nor legally 
procurable in time of peace." 16 

As the Army continued to add to its 
polyglot fleet, the spare parts problem 
got completely out of hand. The command- 
ing officer at Holabird reported in 1935 
that, "the 360 different models of vehicles 
now in the Army . . . involve nearly a 
million items of spare parts which neither 
the War Department nor any other au- 
thority can control." 17 Two years later 
the Assistant Secretary of War termed the 
situation "absurd" and blamed Congress 
for requiring the Army to buy from the 
lowest bidder. 18 Meanwhile, the German 
Army adopted a standard fleet which, 
Motor Transport Division officers believed, 
was initiated by a German officer who had 
studied the proposed American standard 
fleet in 1932. German industry in the 
1930's was permitted to produce only 
those types of trucks that were approved 
for military use. 19 

When new Army Regulations on the 
subject appeared in September 1939, just 
after the outbreak of war in Europe, they 
declared that procurement of trucks for 

the U.S. Army would be limited to 
"models produced o^mercially by two or 
more competing companies. . . ." The 
Army was to use commercial trucks with 
only a few modifications such as brush 
guards and towing pintles to fit them for 
military use. All parts and assemblies were 
to be standard production items in the 
automotive industry, but there was to be 
no specially designed vehicle such as the 

15 H.R. Rpt No. 1215 on H.R. 11897, p. 13, 
72d Cong., 1st sess., WDAB, 1933. See also MS 
study by Harry Roberts, The Two-and-One-Half- 
Ton Truck, p. 1 o, Roberts file. 

16 Col. Brainerd Taylor, "Military Motor Trans- 
port," Army Ordnance, XVII, No. 99 (November 
-December 1936), 156. Colonel Taylor, CO of the 
Holabird Depot, stated his views at length in a 
letter to the QMG, 16 December 1935, sub: 
Standardization. . . , QM 451 Proc Standardiza- 
tion Policy. For similar comments, see lengthy 
statement by Maj Rex J. Howard, 12 Aug 44, Re 
Standardization During Last War and Through 
1940, copy in OHF. These events are also dis- 
cussed in Record of U.S. Army Ordnance Combat 
and Motor Transport Vehicle Spare Parts Pol- 
icies and Operations from 1940 to 1945 by Lt 
Col Daniel J. Clifford and Maj Robert O. 
Alspaugh, OCO-D, Nov 45, copy in OHF. 

17 Memo, Taylor to QMG, 27 Feb 36, sub: 
Policy on Purchase of Motor Vehicles, quoted in 
Carstensen, op. cit., p. 59. 

18 Address by Louis Johnson, ASW, to conven- 
tion of the Motor and Equipment Wholesalers 
Association, Chicago, 3 Dec 38, quoted in Carsten- 
sen, op. cit., p. 69. 

10 (r) Proposed Statement On Procurement 
Spare Parts for Combat and Wheeled (Tank- 
Automotive) Vehicles Prepared for Possible Use 
in Testifying Before Senate Investigating Com- 
mittee in August 1944 by Lt Col Daniel J. Clifford 
and Maj J. A. Norman, OCO-D files, P4338; (2) 
Maj Paul D. Olejar and R. F. McMullen, Motor 
Transport Vehicles 1940-45, MS study, OCO, 31 
Dec 45, pp. 12-14, OHF; (3) Carstensen, op. 
cit.; (4) Roger Shaw, "Mars Motor East," 
Quartermaster Review, XVIII (March-April 
1 939 ) , 7-10; (5) Roberts, World War I. For a 
German view, see the article "Commercial Motor 
Vehicles in War," by W. Kempf, a major in the 
German Army, Army Ordnance, X, No. 59 
(March- April 1930), 324. 



Class B truck, nor any Standard Fleet. 20 
This policy was intended to assure speedy 
production at the outbreak of war, regard- 
less of the maintenance and spare parts 
problem that might develop later. To 
minimize the maintenance problem the 
War Department limited procurement to 
five chassis types — 1/2-ton, 1-1/2-ton, 
2- 1/2 -ton, 4- ton, and 7-1/2-ton. 21 As a 
result of this policy, the only thing stand- 
ardized about Army trucks at the start of 
the defense period was their size. The 
door was still wide open for the procure- 
ment of dozens of different makes and 

The Defense Period, 1939-4/ 

In the late 1930's the Quartermaster 
Corps kept in touch with all the leading 
manufacturers of cars and trucks through 
its procurement planning office in Detroit. 
This office surveyed plants, filed allocation 
requests with the Army and Navy Muni- 
tions Board, and drew up estimates of 
emergency production. It counted on the 
"Big Three" of the industry — General 
Motors, Chrysler, and Ford — to carry most 
of the wartime load, but also gave atten- 
tion to other concerns such as Interna- 
tional Harvester, Mack, Willys, and Amer- 
ican Bantam, and to suppliers of special 
components such as the Timken-Detroit 
Axle Company. 22 Only for the latter type 
of firm did the Detroit office consider 
plant expansion. It assumed that other 
plants could easily shift from civilian to 
military production and could produce all 
the trucks the Army would need in time 
of war. With excess capacity throughout 
the industry in the 1930's there was little 
reason to believe that some day the auto- 
mobile plants would have more orders 
than they could fill. The worst deficiency 

in this prewar planning proved to be the 
failure to plan on a realistic basis for 
mass production of the special compo- 
nents needed for tactical vehicles and for 
greatly enlarged production of heavy 
trucks. 23 

From a virtual standstill in the 1920's, 
truck procurement built up slowly in the 
1930's, pushed along at first by measures 
to counteract the depression. The Quarter- 
master General reported in 1935 that he 
had on hand about eleven thousand trucks, 
most of them left over from World War I, 
and that nearly sixteen thousand new ve- 
hicles had been purchased during the 
year, mostly for the Civilian Conservation 
Corps and the Public Works Administra- 
tion. These were all commercial types with 
only minor modifications required by the 
government. After 1935, when Congress 
declared the World War I vehicles obso- 

20 AR 850-15, 29 Sep 39. "SAE in National 
Defense," an address by Lt Col Edward E. Mac- 
Morland printed in SAE Journal, XLVII, No. I 
(1940), 18. See also address by Hon. Robert P. 
Patterson, ASW, "Motorization Policy of the 
Army" in SAE Journal, XLVII, No. 5 (1940), 

21 Ltr, TAG to QMG, 12 Aug 39, sub: Stand- 
ardization of Motor Vehicles, AG 451 (6-15-39) 
Misc D. The tonnage figures indicate the ap- 
proved carrying capacity of the vehicle, not its 
own weight. 

22 The status of this activity in May 1940 is 
briefly summarized in Letter, Capt. Clarence E. 
Jones to Maj. George E. Hartman, OQMG, 4 
March 1940, copy in Roberts file. This file con- 
tains many letters that passed between the De- 
troit office and the OQMG on the subject of 
procurement planning in the pre-1941 years. 

23 Evidence along this line appears in the con- 
tractor histories on file in OHF. For example, the 
request of the Mack Manufacturing Company for 
an educational order to develop capacity for rear 
axles and transmissions was denied on the grounds 
that in time of war Mack would be called upon to 
build on'y dump trucks and fire apparatus f?r the 
Army. Hist, Phila Ord Dist, vol. 100, pt. 12, 
pp. [-2. For a brief review of the immediate pre- 
war situation, see PSP on Prod Ping, 16 Jun 45. 



lete, procurement for "remotorizatiqn of 
the Army" was in full swing. In July 
1940 it was estimated the Army would 
spend nearly $60 million for new cars and 
trucks in the year ahead. 24 

Although these vehicles were not to be 
of standard design their variety was far 
less than in World War I. In addition to 
the 1939 order limiting procurement to 
five standard sizes, the Quartermaster 
Corps had taken two other steps to avoid 
the mistakes of 1917-18. First, it had 
tried, within the framework of competitive 
bidding, to keep to a minimum the num- 
ber of makes and designs, and in 1941 
was actually buying only sixteen different 
makes. Second, it had urged manufactur- 
ers to adopt a wide variety of interchange- 
able small parts such as batteries, spark 
plugs, generators, fan belts, speedometers, 
and gas tanks. 28 But the one big step that 
would have made these efforts really effec- 
tive was not taken. That was the switch 
from competitive bidding to the negotiated 

By June 1940 the Quartermaster Corps 
had tested and approved three commercial 
trucks, the Dodge 4x4, 1-1/2-ton, the 
GMC 6x6, 2-1/2-ton. and the Mack 6x6, 
6-ton. 26 In view of the big procurement 
program getting under way, it earnestly 
requested authority to purchase these ve- 
hicles from the firms indicated instead of 
advertising for bids and awarding con- 
tracts to the lowest bidder. The purpose, 
it explained, was "to take advantage of 
the lessons of motor vehicle maintenance 
learned from our World War experience," 
and avert a breakdown of field mainte- 
nance in an emergency. 27 But the request 
was denied. The Assistant Secretary of 
War recognized the value of standardiza- 
tion but pointed out that there were also 
other things to consider. He particularly 

opposed any action that would "give man- 
ufacturers a feeling of monopoly as applied 
to any particular type of truck." 28 

When it enacted Public Law 703 on 2 
July 1940 Congress opened the door for 
the military services to negotiate contracts 
with firms of their own choosing instead of 
making awards to the lowest bidder. But 

44 ( 1 ) Memo, Brig Gen Richard H. Jordan to 
QMG, 18 Jul 40, sub: Final Rpt, Transportation 
Div, copy in Roberts file; (2) Ann Rpts QMG, 

r 935i '93^ t937- This period is reviewed in some 
detail by Thomas E. Downey in draft manuscript 
prepared for QM Historical Branch, undated, en- 
titled Procurement, pages 19-24, copy in OHF 
and in OQMG historical file. See also Herbert R. 
Rifkind, The Jeep — Its Development and Procure- 
ment under the Quartermaster Corps, 1940-42 

(1943), pp. 43-45, copy on file in Historical Br, 
OQMG; and testimony of Craig, 24 Jan 39, 
Hearings, WDAB, 1940, H.R. pp. 11-12. 

25 (t) Brig Gen Frank F. Scowden, Lecture, 
The Quartermaster Corps, 14 Feb 41, ICAF.; (2) 
Remarks by Brig Gen Joseph E. Barzynski at 
conf of Corps Area Quartermasters, 28 Jan 41, 
copy in OHF. 

26 The designation 4x4 meant the vehicle had 
four wheels and that all four were power driven; 
6x6 meant 6 power-driven wheels. The description 
4x2 meant that only two of the four wheels were 
driven, as 6x4 meant that only four of six were 
driven. For a brief but comprehensive explanation 
of military automotive terms, see Handbook of 
Motor Vehicles Used by the U.S. Armed Forces, 
published by the Timken-Detroit Axle Co., De- 
troit, Mich., 1944, copy in OHF. 

27 Memo, QMG to ASW, 19 Jun 40, QM 451 
T-M (Proc FY 41). Representatives of the In- 
fantry, Cavalry, Field Artillery, and Coast Artillery 
concurred in this request. For another such in- 
stance, see PSP on Prod Ping, 16 Jun 45. 

28 1st Indorsement, 3 Jul 40, to Memo cited in 
preceding footnote, copy in OHF. See also Car- 
stensen, op. cit., Page 74, and Clifford and Als- 
paugh. Record of U.S. Army Ordnance Combat 
and Transport Vehicle Spare Parts Policies and 
Operations from 1940 to 1945, Pages 109-10. As 
late as September 1940, the report of a confer- 
ence in the OASW stated, "It was the consensus 
of the meeting that advertising for bids should 
not be abandoned in favor of negotiated con- 
tracts." Memo, QMG to ASW, 13 Sep 40, sub: 
Proc of QM Supplies. . . , QM 400.13 (Proc 
Program- 1941). 



the War Department was slow to permit 
its procurement agencies to exercise this 
new freedom when buying commercial- 
type items. More than a year passed after 
Congress opened the door before the 
Quartermaster Corps was permitted to 
cross the threshold. 29 In that delay the 
last chance to standardize Army trucks for 
World War II was lost. 

Not until the summer of 1941 did truck 
procurement by negotiated contract come 
into its own. Even then it was looked upon 
with some disfavor because it ran counter 
to the Army's efforts to distribute contracts 
as widely as possible. It continued as a 
subject of discussion between Secretary 
Patterson and The Quartermaster General 
up to Pearl Harbor. By that time the 
procurement pattern was set and Army 
trucks had to remain pretty much what 
they were. Thereafter it was largely a 
matter of continuing to procure models 
already in service. 30 

Getting Production Started 

Early in the defense period The Quarter- 
master General was not in any great hurry 
to buy new trucks. In May 1940 he pro- 
posed that bids for the smaller sizes be 
held back until September to allow time 
for testing the new models. 31 Although 
overruled on this point by the Secretary 
of War, some months later he reported to 
a meeting of the Society of Automotive 
Engineers, "We are buying them gradually 
to make them available only as rapidly as 
the divisions and other troop units spring 
into being." This was done, he explained, 
to lighten the burden on the automotive 
industry and "to interfere as little as pos- 
sible with its regular commercial pro- 
gram." 32 The industry was able to handle 
without difficulty both civilian and military 

orders during 1940, but during 1941 the 
picture changed swiftly. As estimates of 
future needs rose faster than expected, and 
also shifted from one type to another, 
military truck production began to lag 
behind schedule. From about 30,000 in 
July 1940, the total number of Army 
trucks on hand rose to more than 70,000 
early in 1 941 and exceeded 250,000 by the 
end of the year. 33 By peacetime standards 
this was a notable achievement but it was 
not enough to keep pace with the Army's 
demands. To ease the drain on scarce 
materials and speed military production, 
the Office of Production Management an- 
nounced in August 1 94 1 a 50 percent cut 

PSP on Prod Ping, t6 Jun 45. 

30 ( 1 ) Memo, Maj Charles J, Norman for Direc- 
tor, Prod Br, OUSW, 18 Jul 41, ASF Prod Div, 
Job 19B; {2) OQMG Daily Activity Reports, 27- 
28 Nov 41 and 5 Dec 41. For an authoritative 
statement of the delay in adopting negotiated 
purchasing, see remarks by Col Edwin S. Van 
Deusen appended to Rifkind, The Jeep — Its De- 
velopment and Procurement. . . . The matter is 
also discussed, and numerous documents cited, in 
incomplete MS on Truck Procurement by Thomas 
E. Downey in QM Historical Br files. 

31 Memo, QMG for ACofS G-4, 4 May 40, 
QM 451-T-M (Proc FY 41), photostat in 
Roberts file. 

32 Maj Gen Edmund B. Gregory, Address to 
SAE, 7 Jan 41, in Detroit, reprinted in Quarter- 
master Review, XX (January-February 1941), 66 
-67. The Secretary of War's instructions were 
issued in Ltr, TAG to QMG, 17 May 40, sub: 
Purchase of Gen Purpose Vehicles, FY 1941, 
AG451 (5-15-40) M-D. 

33 Address by Brig Gen Joseph E. Barzynski, 
asst to QMG, 20 Feb 41, reprinted in Quarter- 
master Review, XX (March-April 1941), 37. 
Similar figures appear in Scowden, ICAF lecture, 
The Quartermaster Corps, 14 Feb 41. See also 
Whiting, Statistics, Proc sec, pp. 38-41; George 
W. Auxier, Truck Production and Distribution 
Policies of the WPB and Predecessor Agencies, 
July 1940-December 1944, WPB Spec Study No. 
17, 1946, pp. 14-15, copy in Army Library; and 
testimony of Patterson before Truman Comm., 15 
Jul 41. 



in production of cars and trucks for civilian 
use during the ensuing six months. 34 

After the Assistant Secretary of War 
ruled in July 1940 that competitive bidding 
would continue to be the rule and negoti- 
ated contracts the exception, the Quarter- 
master Corps was unable to implement 
its prewar plans for placing orders with 
allocated plants. Selection of contractors 
was determined by the play of competitive 
forces, rather than by prearranged plan. 
General Motors, Chrysler, and Ford re- 
ceived the first major contracts. For a 
brief period in the latter part of 1940 the 
Ford Motor Company was denied govern- 
ment business because it would not accept 
the labor policy adopted by the National 
Defense Advisory Commission (NDAC) 
and approved by the President, but this 
barrier was soon removed. 35 Among the 
more specialized producers were Mack, 
Federal, Studebaker, Willys, White, Dia- 
mond T, Corbitt, Bantam, Autocar, Four 
Wheel Drive, International Harvester, Yel- 
low Truck and Coach, and Ward La- 
France. Behind these firms — all of whom 
assembled complete vehicles — were hun- 
dreds of parts makers such as Tim ken- 
Detroit Axle Company, Bendix Products 
Division of Bendix Aviation Corporation, 
Borg-Warner Corporation, Budd Wheel 
Company, Spicer Manufacturing Corpora- 
tion, Kelsey-Hayes Company, Hercules 
Motor Company, and many others. 30 

Critical Components 

Most of the production problems of the 
Quartermaster Corps stemmed from the 
fact that Army trucks with all-wheel drive 
required three important components not 
used to any great extent in commercial 
trucks — constant velocity joints, transfer 
cases, and bogie rear axles — and they used 
two or three times as many driving axles. 

The constant velocity joint was a device 
that permitted use of a driving and steer- 
ing front axle. Intricate in design, its 
manufacture called for many complicated 
machining operations and the use of large 
forgings made to exact specifications. 37 
In 1939 only two firms, Bendix Products 
Division and Gear Grinding Machine Com- 
pany, produced constant velocity joints, 
and both had but small capacity. By the 

34 Auxier, WPB Spec Study No. 17, 1946, pp. 
3ff. On conservation of rubber and other scarce 
materials, see PSP on Prod Ping, 16 Jun 45. For 
a broad survey of the automotive industry's role, 
see The Automotive Industry in War Production, 
10 May 44, typescript by Policy Analysis and Reds 
Br, WPB, copy in WPB file PD 033.309 Automo- 
tive, N.A. For criticism of the industry's failure 
to . convert more fully to war production, see 
Additional Rpt of Truman Comm., 15 Jan 42, 
Rpt No. 480, pt. 5, 77th Cong., 2d sess. 

35 Memo, QMG for USW, 1 Apr 41, sub: Proc 
Cir 43 WP 1940, QM 451 Proc FY 1941. 

38 Freedom's Arsenal, The Story of the Auto- 
motive Council for War Production (Detroit, 
Mich.: Automobile Manufacturers Association, 
1950) (hereafter cited as Freedom's Arsenal), p. 
82. See extensive correspondence between Jones, 
QM Motor Procurement Planning Office, Detroit, 
and OQMG in the late 1930's, copies in Roberts 
file. Contracting procedures are described in 
Memo, QMG for USW, 9 January 1941, sub: 
Procurement Activities under the Various 1941 
Appropriations, QM 400.13 (Proc Program 1941). 
Contractor histories in the OHF give detailed data 
on most of the manufacturers, including contract 
information, specifications, and rate of produc- 

37 For brief description and illustrations of 
Bendix-Weiss, Rzeppa, Tracta, and helical joints, 
see Lt. Col. William G. Farmer, Ordnance Field 
Guide, II, 725-31. For detailed discussion of 
constant velocity joint production, see Memo, Col. 
Van Deusen for Procurement Contl Div, OQMG, 
4 Jan 41, QM 400.13 (Procurement Program, 
1 9 14). See also. Memo, QMG for USW, 23. Oct 
41, sub: Priorities . , . Constant Velocity Joints, 
QM i6r M-P (Gear Grinding Machine Com- 
pany) and Memo, William W. Knight to Knud- 
sen, 16 July 1940, WPB file PD 631.241C. The 
OQMG Daily Activity Reports and Weekly Pro- 
gress Reports mention this subject frequently in 
1940-41. The achievements of the Chevrolet 
Division of GMC in producing joints is detailed 
in History, Detroit Ord Dist, Volume 100, pt. 14. 



spring of 1942 three additional firms, Ford, 
Dodge, and Chevrolet, had come into pro- 
duction and boosted capacity to more than 
one hundred times what it was in 1939. 38 
Transfer cases were sometimes called 
"power dividers" because they permitted 
transmission of power from the engine to 
both front and rear axles. They also re- 
quired a great deal of gear cutting and 
machining, and to supply them in quantity 
several axle and transmission builders 
pushed their output far above peacetime 
levels. Bogie rear axles required -heavy 
parts not previously made in any quantity 
by the automotive industry and also greatly 
increased the quantities of axles normally 
used. Before Pearl Harbor the Quarter- 
master Corps arranged for two leading 
manufacturers of axles and transmissions 
— Timken-Detroit and Fuller — to expand 
their capacity to meet anticipated require- 
ments, but all such expansions took many 
months to complete. 39 

The largest truck contract awarded in 
the summer of 1940 went to Chrysler's 
Fargo Division for more than 14,000 1/2- 
ton 4x4*5. A smaller contract went to 
Chevrolet for the 1- 1/2 -ton 4x4. As these 
vehicles were similar to standard commer- 
cial designs, except for the 4-wheel drive, 
there was no need for new plants or ex- 
tensive retooling, and both concerns got 
into production quickly. The chief bottle- 
neck at the start — lack of constant velocity 
joints — was broken when Chevrolet and 
Fargo went into production of joints to 
supplement the output of Bendix and Gear 
Grinding Machine Company. Licensing 
agreements were worked out to permit 
production of the patented items. 40 

Workhorse of the Army: the 2-1/2-Ton 

Meanwhile the Quartermaster Corps 
placed contracts for several thousand 2- 

1/2 -ton 6x6 trucks with the Yellow Truck 
and Coach Company 41 in accord with 
earlier plans, and in September 1941 the 
contracts were greatly increased. When 
Yellow Truck started production in Jan- 
uary 1 941 it found that its chief bottleneck 
was procurement of axles and transfer 
cases from the Timken-Detroit Axle Com- 
pany. To meet the demand, Timken had 
to buy new gear-cutting and gear-grinding 
equipment, make new patterns and dies, 
and spend months training additional 
workers. Other parts manufacturers, not- 
ably the Clark Equipment Company, Borg- 
Warner Corporation, and the E. G. Budd 
Company also increased their production 
capacity to keep pace with the Army's 
truck demands. 42 

38 (i) Memo, Col Herbert J. Lawes, OQMG, 
to OUSW, 23 Oct 41, sub: Priorities. . , , copy 
in Roberts file; (a) Survey of ASP by QMC 
Motor Transport Serv, 8 Mar 42, MTS file. 

39 ( 1 ) Survey of ASP by QMC Motor Trans- 
port Serv; (2) Memo, Maj Ralph G. Boyd to 
William L. Marbury, SOS, 7 Apr 42, sub: Fuller 
Mfg. Co., QM 161 M-AL (Fuller), copy in 
Roberts file; (3) Ann Rpt QMG FY 1942, MTS 
files, P4233, pp. 65ff; (4) Progress Rpt QMC 
MTS, 2 Jul 42, P4229. For a discussion of the 
bogie axle, see Sergeant Morgan O'Connor's 
"Bogie — The Army's Baby," Quartermaster Re- 
view, XXI, No. 2 ( 1941 ), 22. 

40 (t) Hist, Detroit Ord Dist, vol. 100, pt. 14, 
Chevrolet; {2) Lt Col Douglas Dow, Draft of 
Rpt on inspection trip to Detroit and South Bend, 
1-9 Oct 40, copy in Roberts file. For a detailed 
account of the 1 -1/2-ton truck, see The Design, 
Development, and Production of Trucks and 
Semi-Trailers, Ord PP 47, Oct 44, pp. 21-26, 
OHF. The Fargo negotiations are described in 
detail in Downey, op. cit., pp. 5off, as are 
patents, pp. 7off. 

41 Yellow Truck and Coach was an independent 
company until 1943 when it was taken over by 
General Motors Corporation and became the 
General Motors Truck and Coach Division. Its 
plant was at Pontiac, Mich. 

42 Dow, op. cit. For a tabulation of contracts 
by number, amount, date, type, and cost, see 
Procurement of Motor Vehicles. 



The 2-1/2-ton truck, a military adapta- 
tion of a commercial model, was an imme- 
diate success and remained unsurpassed as 
a general purpose vehicle throughout the 
war. "I have seen nothing belonging to our 
enemies or our Allies that can compare 
with it," wrote one combat observer. 43 
The most widely used truck in the Army's 
fleet, it could carry on good roads far more 
than its rated capacity and soon earned the 
nickname "workhorse of the Army." Its 
six driving wheels were mounted on three 
axles, each having its own differential. 
Power could be applied to all six wheels 
for steep hills or rough cross-country travel, 
or the front axle could be disengaged on 
smooth highways. 44 

The demand for the 2-1/2-ton was so 
great by the end of 1941 that it ranked as 
the most serious production problem in the 
entire truck program. As Yellow Truck 
could not handle it alone the Quarter- 
master Corps turned to the Studebaker 
Company to augment the supply; later two 
smaller producers — Reo and International 
Harvester — came into the picture. At first 
the plan called for Studebaker to make an 
exact copy of the Yellow model, but this 
idea was dropped because it would delay 
the start of production and would cost 
several million dollars for new tooling. Al- 
though most components of the model 
built by Studebaker were identical with 
those in the Yellow version, many parts 
were not interchangeable. For example, 
Studebaker used engines made by the 
Hercules Motor Company of Canton, 
Ohio, while Yellow Truck made its own 
engines. No serious difficulties developed 
in this score because the Studebakers 
were shipped to lend-lease countries — 
chiefly the Soviet Union, which received 
over 1 00,000 — and the Yellow models were 
issued to the U.S. Army. 45 

Heavy-Heavy Trucks 

While the largest orders were going for 
light, medium, and light-heavy vehicles, 
the smallest orders went for so-called 
heavy-heavy trucks capable of carrying 
payloads of from four to six tons. 48 Offi- 
cers of the Motor Transport Division were 
convinced that in time of war the Army 
might find itself operating a long-distance 
trucking service over improved roads as 
well as conducting the usual short, cross- 
country tactical movements. For long hauls 
the big trucks, labeled strategical vehicles 
by Motor Transport officers, would be 
needed in quantity. But the using arms 
were not interested in such trucks in 
1940-41. The Quartermaster Corps was 
permitted to place a few orders with Mack, 
Federal, Corbitt, White, and Diamond T, 
but the quantities were in the hundreds 
rather than the thousands. This failure to 
recognize the importance of heavy trucks 
later proved to be one of the most costly 
mistakes of the prewar and early war 
years. 47 

43 Lucas quoted in Memo, CG ASF for Deputy 
CofOrd, 10 Sep 43, sub: Rpt on Motor Vehicles 
in Sicilian Campaigns, OO 451/2038. 

14 For description of performance, see O'Con- 
nor, "Bogie — The Army's Baby," Quartermaster 
Review, XXI, No. 2 (1941), 22, 107. The 2-1/2- 
ton truck was also built in 6x4 and 4x2 types, 
but the great majority of the 2-1/2-ton vehicles 
were 6x6's. 

45 (1) Anticipated Production Difficulties — QM 
Vehicles for Delivery in 1942, 24 Jan 42; (2) 
Olejar and McMullen, Motor Transport Vehicles, 
1940-45, pp. 49-54; {3) PP 47, pp. 27-32; (4) 
Roberts, The Two-and-One-Half-Ton Truck; (5) 
Stat Work Sheets, 1 Sep 45, final rpt in series by 
Engr and Mfg Div, OCO-D. 

4<i Light trucks had capacity for 1 ton or less; 
medium for 1-1/2; light-heavies for 2-1/2; and 
heavy-heavies for more than 2-1/2. 

47 See ch. XIII, sec. on Heavy-Heavy Trucks, 
[ 943 _ 44- This matter is clearly illustrated in 
History, Mack Manufacturing Corporation. 



The Versatile Jeep 

The only really new vehicle to come into 
the picture in 1940 was the 1/4-ton 4x4 
truck, better known as the jeep. The 
Army, which had begun to think about 
such a vehicle in the 1930's as a fast 
reconnaissance car, focused its attention 
in the summer of 1940 on a lightweight 
car built by the American Bantam 
Car Company of Butler, Pennsylvania. 48 
After representatives of the Ordnance 
Technical Committee visited the Bantam 
plant and studied its product, seventy of 
the Bantam cars were purchased for test- 
ing purposes. Built to Army specifications, 
these cars were purely military vehicles. 
Only eleven feet long and three feet high, 
they weighed about two thousand pounds 
but had plenty of power, stamina, and 
maneuverability. 49 

After successful tests of the Bantam ve- 
hicles the Army was ready to buy jeeps in 
quantity, and directed The Quartermaster 
General to procure 1,500 from Bantam. 
But Maj. Gen. Edmund B. Gregory was 

48 For the early history of the jeep, see Rifkind, 
The Jeep — Its Development and Procurement 
Under the QMC, 1940-42. Supporting docu- 
ments for this study are in OHF. See also Lt. 
Eugene P. Hogan, "The Story of the Quarter- 
ton," Quartermaster Review, XXI, No. 2 (1941), 
53ff. The name "jeep" was originally applied to 
the 1/2-ton 4x4 truck, and the 1/4-ton vehicle 
was at first dubbed "peep." When the 1/2-ton 
truck was discontinued the smaller vehicle be- 
came the "jeep." One theory is that the name 
"jeep" came from a slurring of the letters GP 
used to designate general purpose vehicles, and 
another is that it came from a comic strip charac- 
ter created by E. C. Segar. 

49 Rpt Subcomm. on Auto Equipment to The 
Ord Comm., 22 Jun 40, sub: Light Infantry and 
Cavalry Vehicles, and Indorsements, copy in Rif- 
kind notes on jeep, OHF. 



reluctant to place the entire order with 
Bantam, describing it as "a small firm 
with no productive facilities of any im- 
portance." B0 As Willys and Ford had 
meanwhile shown considerable interest in 
producing such a vehicle, and were then 
building pilot models, the Quartermaster 
Corps was permitted to place a contract 
in November with Bantam for 1,500 jeeps 
and soon thereafter to make similar awards 
to Willys-Overland and Ford. 51 These 
were negotiated, not competitive bid con- 
tracts, and were concurred in by the 
National Defense Advisory Committee, 
subject to delivery of acceptable pilot 
models by Ford and Willys. When Bantam 
protested bringing in other concerns that 
had not shared in the earlier work, and 
allowing them to observe the Bantam 
model, the Quartermaster Corps replied 
that it preferred to have more than one 
company share in this stage of design and 
development and be ready to produce in 
time of war. Protests came also from pro- 
labor interests who pointed out that the 
Ford Motor Company had been repeatedly- 
charged with violations of the Wagner Act. 
In newspapers, magazines, and Congres- 
sional committees the arguments raged for 
some time, but the contracts remained in 
force. 52 

After rigorous tests of Bantam, Willys, 
and Ford jeeps — tests that revealed struc- 
tural weaknesses in all three and led to 
many design changes — the Willys jeep was 
standardized. When the QMC was author- 
ized to procure sixteen thousand it called 
for bids on an all-or-none basis. Although 
Willys submitted the lowest bid, by a 
narrow margin, the QMC preferred Ford 
as a larger and more dependable producer 
and recommended that it be given the 
contract. But when the Office of Produc- 
tion Management refused to go along with 

this recommendation the contract went to 
Willys." 3 The order was not split up 
among the three potential producers be- 
cause it was desired that all jeeps be of 
identical make, and Motor Transport offi- 
cers argued there was no time to arrange 
for identical production by two or more 
firms. But a few months later, when Willys 
proved unable to keep pace with fast- 
mounting requirements, another producer 
had to be added. A contract then went to 
Ford to produce jeeps exactly according 
to Willys blueprints. Willys turned over to 
Ford copies of its drawings, specifications, 
and patents, and for the rest of the war 

50 Memo, QMG for Brig Gen Richard C. 
Moore, Deputy CofS, 6 Nov 40, QM 451 (Proc 
398-41-9), copy in Rifkind notes. See also testi- 
mony of Col Edwin S. Van Deusen and John D. 
Biggers before Truman Comm., Aug. 6, 1941, 
77th Cong., 1st sess., pp. I978ff. 

51 For discussion of Bantam production, see 
memo, Curley, consultant, for Col Sidney P. 
Spalding, 25 Apr 41, sub: Status of Prod ... at 
Bantam . - . , ASF Prod Div 451.2 Motor and 
Auto Trucks, Job 19B. See also testimony of 
Francis H. Fenn, president of Bantam, in Hear- 
ings, Truman Comm., Aug. 6, 1941, 77th Cong.. 
1st sess., pt. 7, pp. 1 967ft" ; also, Van Deusen, pp. 
1978IT and Biggers, pp. 2o67ff. An excellent sum- 
mary of these events appears in Federal Trade 
Commission Decisions, 1947-4& (Washington, 
1950), vol. 44, pp. 572-90. 

52 ( 1 ) Ltr, Charles H. Payne, American Ban- 
tam Car Co., to SW, 14 Oct 40, QM 451 (Proc 
398-41-9); (2) Articles by I. F. Stone in PM, 
December 14 and 30, 1940 and January 24, 1941, 
copy in Rifkind notes; and in The Nation, 
December 30, 1940, quoted at length in Rifkind, 
pp. 77-80; (3) Proceedings of Motor Transport 
Sub-Comm. QM Tech Comm., 18 Oct 40, QM 
451 (Proc 398-41-9), copy in Rifkind notes; 
(4) Ltr, Dow, OQMG, to ASW, 20 Dec 40, sub: 
Contract No. W398-qm-8887 . . . , QM 161 
(Ford), copy in Rifkind notes, OHF. 

53 Ltr, QMG to CO Holabird QM Depot, 1 
Aug 41, sub: Award under Informal Request for 
Bids . . . with 12 incls, QM 451-M-P (Proc 
398-42-NEG-i ). See also Interim Gen Rpt, H.R. 
Comm. on Mil Affairs, Jun 23, 42, Rpt No. 2272, 
77th Cong., 2d sess., pp. 285-87. 



Jeep, '/4-Ton 4x4 Truck, on display during a talk given to the employees of Willys-Over- 
land Motor Company by Brig. Gen. Burton 0. Lewis. 

the two firms turned out thousands of 
jeeps with interchangeable parts. Both 
firms, it should be noted, bought many of 
their major components from the same 
sources — frames from Midland Steel, 
wheels from Kelsey-Hayes, axles and trans- 
fer cases from Spicer, and so on. Both 
companies also contributed to developing 
and improving the jeep throughout the 
war. 54 

Award of the contract to Ford excluded 
Bantam from the picture entirely and thus 
denied to the firm that had pioneered the 
vehicle any share in its wartime produc- 
tion. Bantam was later given a contract to 
produce small trailers, but it built no 
more jeeps for the Army. Enlistment of big 
producers was defended on the ground 
that Bantam could never have turned out 
jeeps in the quantities needed for World 

War II. From a production viewpoint this 
decision may have been sound but it 
brought upon the Army a great deal of 
criticism that might have been avoided if 
Bantam had not been entirely excluded 
from jeep production. 55 

54 For an excellent brief summary of the early 
contract awards and the reasons for them, see 
Memo, Chief MTD Legal Sec for chief, MTD, 27 
Mar 42, sub: American Bantam Motor Gar Co., 
Rifl ind notes. 

55 Rifkind discusses the controversy over award 
of the jeep contracts in detail, and his notes 
contain copies of pertinent documents. The sub- 
ject was also reviewed by the Truman Gommmit- 
tee in August 194 1 and by the House of Repre- 
sentatives Military Affairs Committee, Interim 
General Report, June 23, 1942, Report 2272, 77th 
Congress, 2d session. See also ( 1 ) Hist, Detroit 
Ord Dist, vol. 114 (Ford); (2) The Automotive 
Industry in War Prod, 10 May 44; (3) PP 47, 
pp. 1-10; (4) Nelson, Arsenal of Democracy, pp. 
177-78; and (5) A. Wade Wells, Hail to the 



As the jeep skyrocketed to world-wide 
fame controversy naturally arose as to its 
genesis. In the keenly competitive automo- 
tive industry, where all companies had 
their eyes on the postwar market, the rivalry 
was intense. Willys-Overland advertise- 
ments claimed that its engineers, working 
with their counterparts in the Army, 
"created and perfected the jubilant Jeep." 
Bantam naturally resented these claims 
which seemed to add insult to injury. 
Soon the Federal Trade Commission en- 
tered a formal complaint against Willys. 
After extensive investigation the FTC 
eventually — in 1948 — ruled that the Willys 
advertisements constituted unfair methods' 
of competition, and issued a "cease and 
desist" order. Willys had indeed designed 
and built the model of jeep used in World 
War II, but Bantam and the Army had 
laid the groundwork for Willys' success/' 

As to the proper division of credit within 
the Army there was no dispute between 
the Quartermaster Corps and Ordnance. 
After transfer of motor transport to Ord- 
nance, General Campbell sent to General 
Gregory the following forthright statement 
about the jeep : 

All of us in the Ordnance Department 
fully realize that this vehicle was developed 
and put into production by the Quarter- 
master Corps prior to the time when Motor 
Transport was transferred to the Ordnance 
Department on August 1, 1942. None of the 
credit for this achievement belongs to the 
Ordnance Department and it would be pre- 
sumptuous on our part ever to allow a 
shadow of doubt on this point. ... It is a 
very remarkable achievement for which the 
Quartermaster Corps, and those who worked 
for or with it, are entitled to credit. We of 

Jeep (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1946) : 
(6) Additional Rpt of the Mead Comm., S. 
Report No. 110, pt. 7. 79th Gong., 2d sess.. p. 7, 

Ordnance join with all your other friends in 
giving this credit completely and gladly. 87 

A few months after this letter was written, 
one of the original Bantam jeeps took its 
place beside other historical properties in 
the halls of the Smithsonian Institution in 
Washington, and the word "jeep" appeared 
in the newer dictionaries as a war-born 
addition to the English language. 58 

Production Lag 

All during the defense period truck pro- 
duction in one category or another lagged 
behind requirements. As early as October 
1940 nearly a third of all vehicles due for 
delivery were behind schedule/' 9 They 
continue to lag behind during the winter, 
and in March 1941 the Office of the Under 
Secretary of War called the matter to 
the attention of The Quartermaster Gen- 

8,1 (1) FTC Docket No. 4959, 6 May 43; (a) 
FTC Decisions, vol. 44 (Jul 47-Jun 48) p. 590. 
For the claim of Lt Col Homer G. Hamilton, see 
H.R. Report No. 1045, 82d Cong., 1st sess., and 
H.R. Report No. 290, 83d Cong., 1st sess. For a 
journalistic account giving chief credit to the 
Army for development of the jeep, see "Jeep at 
Any Price," Time, June 28, 1943, pp. 84-86. 

BT Quoted by Maj. Eugene P. Hogan, "The Jeep 
in Action," Army Ordnance, XXVII, No. 746 
(September-October 1944), 271. 

BS An amphibian jeep was developed but not 
widely used, and some effort was devoted to an 
extra-light airborne model. For the amphibian, 
see extensive correspondence in OO 451.2/1301- 
1420; OCM 20771, 17 Jun 43; Progress Report, 
QMC MTS, 2 July 1942, Pages 10-12; and Rif- 
k'nd's notes. Both types are discussed in PP 47; 
History, Detroit Ordnance District, Volume 114; 
Report on Design, Development, Engineering, and 
Manufacturing. . . , 14 October 1944, OCO-D, 
OHF; and Baxter, Scientists Against Time, Chap- 
ter XVI. 

S! ' Memo, Lt Col William C. Young for Spald- 
ing, OASW, 31 Oct 40, in ASF Prod Div file 
451-2 Motor and Auto Trucks. This memo 
itemizes all vehicles on contract to each manu- 
facturer and shows quantity due and quantity 
delivered to date. 



eral, urging action to bring deliveries more 
nearly into line with the Time Objective. 00 
In July 1 94 1 Patterson complained that 
the automotive industry had "hardly been 
touched by the rearmament effort" and 
urged that steps be taken to put munitions 
ahead of pleasure cars. 61 

Of the many reasons for the lag in 
production, most were beyond control of 
the QMC. Requirements kept rising with 
every new estimate of Army needs; priori- 
ties for trucks remained low; steel and 
rubber were scarce; productive capacity 
for certain items was limited; and labor 
unrest slowed production in some plants. 02 
The program lacked momentum because 
the Quartermaster Corps had not pushed 
forward toward big procurement in 1940. 
Manufacturers of bottleneck items — chiefly 
axles, transmissions, and transfer cases — 
were induced to enlarge their capacity and 
help meet the demand, but the QMC 
could not do much about the remaining 
problems, for they were fundamental to 
nearly every phase of war production. As 
this condition dragged on through 1 94 1 , 
dissatisfaction accumulated both in the 
QMC and the Office of the Under Secre- 
tary. "For the past two years," wrote the 
chief of the Procurement Control Branch 
to General Gregory three days after Pearl 
Harbor, "it has been known that there 
were important bottlenecks limiting the 
procurement of tactical motor vehicles. 
This problem has been attacked in a piece- 
meal fashion from time to time with 
only limited success. ... It is felt that 
an overall approach to a solution is long 
overdue. . . ." 63 

The First Year of War 

Pearl Harbor put an end to piecemeal 
attacks on the whole problem of industrial 
mobilization. Beginning in January 1942, 

the nation took drastic measures on all 
fronts to convert to all-out war production. 
And the automotive industry in Detroit 
dramatically symbolized the whole process. 
The newly created War Production Board 
moved promptly and decisively in January 
to issue orders banning further production 
of motor cars and trucks for civilian 
use." 4 The cars and trucks already on the 
road or in the stockpile would have to 
last until the Army's needs were met. f,; ' 

'•" Memo, USW for QMG, 6 Mar 41, sub: Proc 
of Motor Vehicles, ASF Prod Div file 451.2 Motor 
& Auto Trucks. 

r>1 Memo, USW for Brig Gen Rutherford, 10 
Jul 41, ASF Contl Div file 400 Time Objective, 
dr 47. See also Ltr, President to SW, 9 Jul 41, 
same file. 

r ' 2 (1) Memo, Maj Charles Norman for Direc- 
tor Prod Br, OUSW, 18 Jul 41, sub: Proc of 
Motor Vehicles, ASF Prod Div Job 19 B; (a) 
Memo, QMG for USW, ao Aug 41, sub: Prod 
Rates and Time Objective, ASF Prod Div, Job 
19 B. The QMG Daily Activity Reports in 1941 
contain countless references to strikes and threats 
of strikes, and the annual Report of the QMG 
for FY 1942 reviewed the difficulties encountered. 

e * Memo, Chief Proc Contl Br for Gregory, 10 
Dec 41, sub: Critical Order Situation of Constant 
Velocity Joint Suppliers, QM 451.01 PC-Proc. For 
expression of the USW's dissatisfaction, see Memo, 
USW for QMG, 19 November 1941, sub: Pro- 
duction of Motor Vehicles, ASF Prod Div file 
451.2 Motor and Auto Trucks, Job 19 B. See 
also the lengthy discussion in 1942 Motor Trans- 
port Procurement Program — Anticipated Produc- 
tion Difficulties, 25 January 1942, MTS files 
P4228. For a summary of the situation as of 
November 1941, see Memo, Col. Doriot for John 
D. Hertz, 14 November >0." 1, "iny ; n Roberts file. 

84 Auxier, Truck Prod and Distribution Policies 
of the WPB and Predecessor Agencies, Jul 40- 
Dcc 44, p. 17 citing General Limitation Order 
L-I-C and L-3-a, both dated 1 Jan 4a. See 
also Operations Rpt of WPB Automotive Div, 26 
Dec 42, WPB 053.108 NA. Trucks in the hands 
of manufacturers and dealers were frozen tem- 
porarily and then rationed to war industries. Pro- 
duction of special types of civilian trucks was 
permitted later. 

<is For a critical analysis of the results of this 
policy, see Report, Truman Comm., 78th Cong., 
1st sess., S. Report No. 10, pt. 13, 15 Dec 43, 
pp. 18-25. 



"America's major industry died in De- 
troit last week," one news magazine com- 
mented. GS But the industry did not really 
die. It merely shifted from peace to war 
production — the greatest model change- 
over in its history. When the War Produc- 
tion Board ruling freed the entire industry 
for conversion to munitions making, confi- 
dence ran high in its capacity to meet the 
challenge of war. "When Hitler put his war 
on wheels," General Somervell observed 
after a tour of Detroit industries, "he ran 
it straight down our alley." 67 

Production Problems 

But behind the scenes the stubborn, 
hard problems of production were still 
there. 08 No magic wand or government de- 
cree could banish materials shortages or 
rearrange production lines overnight. Rub- 
ber, aluminum, steel, and canvas duck were 
still in short supply, and production of 
constant velocity joints and various types 
of bearings was far below the required 
level. To deal with these bottlenecks and 
speed the conversion process, leaders of the 
industry early in 1942 formed the Auto- 
motive Council for War Production, 
headed by Alvan Macauley of Packard. 69 
In March, when the Army was reorganized 
at the top, the newly formed Army Serv- 
ice Forces set to work drafting an Army 
Supply Program (ASP) that called for 
production of more than three million ve- 
hicles of all types by July 1944 — nearly one 
million in 1942, over one million in 1943, 
and over one million in the first six months 
of 1944. Quantities of light trucks in this 
program, although much greater than the 
mid- 1 94 1 requirements, were not beyond 
the industry's capacity, judging by its 
1939 production. The hitch lay in ASP 
emphasis on heavy trucks, those that car- 

ried two tons or more. In 1939 heavy 
trucks constituted only 7 percent of the 
year's annual production, light trucks 93 
percent. But ASP required roughly 50 
percent heavy and 50 percent light. 70 

In May 1942 the Quartermaster Corps 
submitted a detailed report showing that 
industrial capacity for light trucks was 
more than adequate to meet the ASP, but 
that capacity for heavy trucks, although 
already expanded 600 percent since 1940, 
was far below the required level. 71 It 
further reported that the shortage of rubber 
might force a one-third cut in the Army 
Supply Program and that lack of strategic 
metals was a constant drag on the produc- 

86 Newsweek, February 9, 1942, p. 42. For a 
reflection of industry views, see articles in Business 
Week with titles such as "Car Dealers Weep," 
"Detroit's War Load," and "Autos — No. 1 Con- 
version Job." 

87 Quoted in Freedom's Arsenal. The Story of 
the Automotive Council for War Production, p. v. 
For a pictorial story of the changeover in a 
typical plant, see the yearbook of the automotive 
industry, Automobile Facts and Figures 194s 
(Detroit, Mich.: Automobile Manufacturers As- 
sociation, 1943), pp. 32-33. 

68 For discussion of the outlook early in 1942, 
see 1942 Motor Transport Procurement Program 
— Anticipated Production Difficulties, and Van 
Deusen, Speech, 19 February 1942, before SAE. 
An informative article written from the industry 
viewpoint is E. L. Warner, Jr., "What Uncle Sam 
Expects of the Automobile Industry," Automotive 
Industries, vol. 36, No. 2 (January 15, 1942), 
P- 17- 

Freedom's Arsenal describes the history of 
this council in detail. See also Automobile Facts 
and Figures, 1942; Hist, Detroit Ord Dist, vol. 
116; and Harold Titus, "Goodby, Bottlenecks," 
Saturday Evening Post, November 31, 1942, 
p. 16. 

70 (1) Ann Rpt QMG, FY 1942, p. 69; (a) 
Auxier, op. cit., p. 4; (3) Survey of ASP by QM 
MTS, 8 May 42. 

71 Survey of ASP by QM MTS. 8 May 42. See 
also the earlier report titled Anticipated Produc- 
tion Difficulties — QM Motor Vehicles for Delivery 
in 1942, 24 Jan 42, and the later report, Progress 
Rpt QMC MTS, a Jul 42. 



tion machine. "Motor Transport Service 
production schedules are almost daily be- 
ing drastically interrupted by the uneven 
and insufficient flow of almost every type 
of metal product," wrote The Quarter- 
master General. With scarce metal going 
into high priority Navy and Air Force 
items, Motor Transport Service 72 had had 
to get along as best it could with an 
A-i-i or A-i-f rating throughout 194 1 . 
It did not get up even to an A-i-c until 
after Pearl Harbor, and on several occasions 
automotive plants had to shut down tem- 
porarily for lack of materials. 73 

What was needed to correct the situa- 
tion? Nearly everything, it seemed. Fur- 
ther expansion of facilities to make axles, 
transfer cases, constant velocity joints, 
transmissions, and other parts was high on 
the list. This meant collateral expansion of 
forging and machining capacity and de- 
pended entirely on a better supply of both 
steel and machine tools. Machine tools 
formed a narrow bottleneck because QMC 
requests for them went into a miscellane- 
ous classification to which only 8 percent 
of all machine tools were allotted. 74 Speedy 
production of synthetic rubber was also 
called for, along with strict economy in 
the use of existing tires and other rubber 
products. Deliveries of needed steel had to 
be assured, and, to reduce consumption, 
cargo bodies had to be made of wood 
instead of steel. Finally, the QMC recom- 
mended that, in view of the difficulties 
ahead, the whole ASP should be restudied 
with a view toward reducing requirements 
for heavy trucks. 75 

The Transfer to Ordnance 

While the QMG was recommending re- 
study of truck production goals, and in- 
dustry was building new plants for pro- 

ducing bottleneck items, General Somer- 
vell's staff was considering a drastic 
realignment of motor transport responsibil- 
ities. The impetus for change came origin- 
ally in the area of maintenance, not 
procurement. As early as November 1941 
the Hertz report had revealed glaring 
abuses in maintenance of Army trucks by 
the using arms and had recommended that 
Motor Transport Service be given inde- 
pendent status and full authority to 
enforce maintenance discipline. 76 The move 
ment for creation of an independent auto- 
motive corps to handle maintenance for 
both combat and transport vehicles gained 
considerable support during the winter of 
1941-42 but was strongly opposed by 
both The Quartermaster General and the 
Chief of Ordnance. As the discussion con- 
tinued, an alternative idea gained ground, 
to concentrate all responsibility, including 

1: The Motor Transport Division was renamed 
Motor Transport Service in April 1942. 

73 (1) Survey of ASP, 8 May 4a; (2) Ann Rpt 
QMG FY 42, p. 70; (3) Desk Book of Statistics, 
Maj S. B. Robinson. In June the MTS requested 
the War Production Board to study the problem 
of expanding production facilities and come up 
with recommendations. Ltr, QM MTS to WPB, 
12 Jun 42, sub: Expansion of Prod Facilities, 
MTS file, P4229. For examples of plant shut- 
downs, see Incl to Memo, QMG for ACofS 
Materiel, SOS, 27 Jul 42, sub: Efforts Made by 
MTS to Maintain Truck Production. . . , 
SPQMC 411.5 (Steel). 

74 Progress Rpt QMG MTS, 2 Jul 42, p. 30. 

75 (1) Survey of ASP by QMG Motor Trans- 
port Serv, 8 May 42; (2) Ann Rpt QMG FY 
1942, pp. 65-80; (3) Progress Rpt QMC MTS, 
2 Jul 42. As early as mid-May the requirements 
for Defense Aid vehicles were cut. See OQMG 
Daily Activity Rpt, XI, No. 15. 

1,8 Summary of Motor Maintenance Activities 
in the U.S. Army, Incl t6 Ltr, Hertz to USW, 18 
Nov 41, copy in OHF. See also comments on this 
report by Brig. Gen. Brehon B. Somervell (then 
G-4, WDGS) in Memo for CofS, 7 Jan 42, 
Somervell files, folder ASF Automotive Serv 1941 



research, procurement, and maintenance, 
for both tanks and trucks either in the 
Quartermaster Corps or Ordnance. This 
would achieve the desired unification with- 
out creating a new command in the middle 
of the war. With manufacture of both 
tanks and trucks depending on the auto- 
motive industry for many components- 
engines, transmissions, axles, and so on — 
ASF decided to put an end to the un- 
natural division of responsibility by mak- 
ing Ordnance the sole channel for dealing 
with the industry. General Somervell issued 
orders to this effect in mid- July with the 
first of August 1942 as the effective date. 
No adequate explanation for the choice of 
Ordnance over the Quartermaster Corps 
has ever been given. 77 

Along with the shift of construction 
from the Quartermaster Corps to the 
Corps of Engineers, this was one of the 
two largest transfers of functions among 
the technical services during World War 
II. It caused the shift to Ordnance of 
thousands of civilians, officers, and en- 
listed men, along with the motor bases, 
motor supply depots, and automotive 
schools they operated. The chief of the 
Motor Transport Service, Brig. Gen. James 
L. Frink, did not make the transfer, pre- 
ferring to remain with the Quartermaster 
Corps, but most of the others joined forces 
with Ordnance. General Campbell, who 
had opposed the move originally, made it 
clear that he welcomed the MTS personnel 
and would tolerate no discrimination 
against them. 78 But it was inevitable 
that they should feel for a long time like 
strangers in a strange land. 

On the procurement side the transfer 
brought to Ordnance some 4,000 contracts 
with a total value of nearly $3 billion. And 
it led to a far-reaching organizational 
change within Ordnance — establishment of 

the Tank-Automotive Center in Detroit. 
The T-AC, as it was called, was formed 
by moving the QM Motor Transport Serv- 
ice and the Ordnance Tank and Combat 
Vehicle Division from their offices in the 
Washington-Baltimore area to the Union 
Guardian Building in Detroit where they 
joined up with small Quartermaster and 
Ordnance units already there. 79 

By the time Ordnance took over motor 
transport the worst of the production crisis 
was past. 80 Many difficulties remained, 
and new problems were to come up later, 
but the sky-high requirements of the 
original ASP had dropped considerably, 
and were soon to drop more. 81 Production 
of bottleneck items was steadily increasing, 
and the trend toward procurement of 
more and more different types of vehicles 
had been halted. 82 The War Production 

77 (1) Ltr, CG SOS to CofOrd, 17 Jul 42, sub: 
Transfer of Motor Transportation. . . , OO 020/ 
47; (2) WD Cir 245, 95 Jul 4a, sub: Transfer of 
Motor Transport Activities, par 10, as amended 
by WD Cir 267, 8 Aug 42; (3) ODO 315, 28 Jul 
42, sub: Transfer of Motor Transport. . . , copy 
in OHF. The QMC version of the transfer is to 
be found in Risen, The Quartermaster Corps, 
Volume I, pp. 19-22, and in Carstensen, Motor 
Transport Under Quartermaster General, 1903- 
42, pp. 167-81; the ASF version is found in 
Millett, Organization and Role of the Army 
Service Forces, p. 302. The Carstensen version is 
the most detailed and comprehensive account 
extant. Lt. Gen. Levin H. Campbell's views are 
expressed in a personal letter to Thomson, 3 1 
August 1955, OHF. 

78 Ltr, Campbell to Thomson, 31 Aug 55, OHF. 
70 Intervs with Generals Glancy, Christmas, and 

Armstrong and Qp \ E, S, Van Deusen, summer 

1949. See 

ch. XI 

above. For further details on 

the T-AC organization, see Green, Thomson, 
and Roots, Planning Munitions for War, Chapter 


and references therein cited. 

80 Prod Analysis Notes for Oct 42, by Ping Sec, 
Mfg Br, T-AC. 

81 See Progress Rpt QMC MTS, 2 Jul 42. 

82 (1 ) Ltr, TAG to CG SOS and others, 6 Apr 
42, sub: Standardization of Wheeled Motor Ve- 
hicles. . . , AG 451 (4-4-42) MO-SP-M; (2) 
Ltr, TAG to CG SOS and others, 8 Jun 42, 



Board and the Army and Navy Munitions 
Board had clarified the priority ratings on 
steel, and the automotive industry had 
made rapid progress in converting from 
steel to wooden cargo bodies. 83 Steel, 
rubber, copper, and machine tools were 
still in short supply, but a production 
report prepared by Ordnance in October 
showed most vehicles to be on schedule or 
just a little behind schedule. The very 
heavy trucks, four tons and over, were 
running well ahead of requirements. 84 

Development work was also nearly com- 
plete by the time motor transport came to 
Ordnance, and definite steps had been 
taken to freeze existing models. In June 
1942, after the 1/4-ton jeep had been 
adopted and the 1/2-ton truck had been 
eliminated in favor of the 3/4-ton, the 
Secretary of War had issued orders stand- 
ardizing the following eight chassis, all 
then in production : 

1/4-ton, 4x4 Willys and Ford 

3/4-ton, 4x4 Dodge 

1- 1/2-ton, 4x4 General Motors 

2- 1/2-ton, 6x6 General Motors 

4-ton, 6x6 Diamond T 

4- 5-ton, 4x4 Diamond T 

5- 6-ton, 4x4 Diamond T 

6- ton, 6x6 White, Corbitt, 

and Brockway 

The Secretary of War had further declared 
that all development, procurement, and 
standardization of wheeled vehicles would 
be co-ordinated by the QM Technical 
Committee in accordance with AR 850- 
25. Existing contracts for nonstandard 
equipment were to be completed but not 
renewed or extended. 85 

sub: Standardization of Wheeled Vehicles. . . , 
AG 451 (6-5-42) MO-SPOP-M; (3) PSP Prod 
Ping, OCO-D, 16 Jun 45. 

The Dukw 

The most important new vehicle to 
come into production during the period of 
Ordnance control — though ordered by the 
QMC — was the 2-1/2-ton amphibian. In 
the spring of 1942 the QMC turned over 
to the National Defense Research Commit- 
tee responsibility for developing a swim- 
ming truck to carry supplies from ship to 
shore. Landing cargo quickly at overseas 
destinations, right on the beach without 
benefit of piers or heavy cranes, was a 
crucial problem for the Allies in 1942. But 
ASF was cool to the idea of taking on a 
new and possibly impractical type of spe- 
cial vehicle. Nevertheless NDRC, working 

83 (1) Memo, CG, SOS, for QMG, 7 Aug 42, 
sub: Efforts Made by MTS to Maintain Truck 
Prod . . . , SPQMP 411. 5 (Steel); (2) Survey 
of ASP by QMC MTS, 8 May 42; (3) Progress 
Rpt by MTS, 2 Jul 42; {4) Ann Rpt QMG FY 
42, pp. 65ff; (5) Ltr, CG ASF to CofOrd, 4 
Aug 42, sub: Wood Bodies for Cargo Trucks; 

(6) WD Press Release, Army Saves 275,000 Tons 
of Steel Annually . . . , 18 Jun 42, copy in OHF; 

(7) SOS Ann Rpt FY 1942, p. 49; (8) History, 
Ordnance Industry Integration Committee for 
Wood Cargo Bodies, OHF. 

84 Production Planning Report based on ASP, 
15 Oct 42, vol. 8, copy in Roberts file. Compare 
with Status of Procurement-Transportation, Vol- 
ume XXXVIII, 8 December 1941, QM Statistics 
Br, P4236, showing 1 2 out of 23 items behind 
schedule, and the Survey of ASP, by MTS, 8 May 
42, which recommended deep cuts in the ASP. 
The improved situation as of mid- 1942 is outlined 
in Progress Report — QMC MTS, 2 Jul 42, pp. 
2-8. Detailed requirements for 1943 are to be 
found in Truck Requirements 1943, October 1942, 
prepared by Automotive Branch, WPB, and in 
Master Schedule, 25 November 1942, prepared by 
Ordnance Industrial Division, both in OCO— D 

85 Ltr, TAG to CG, AGF and others, 8 Jun 
42, sub: Standardization of Wheeled Motor Ve- 
hicle Chassis and Trailers, AG 451 (6-5-42), 
MO-SPOP-M. This letter rescinded an earlier 
letter on the subject, dated 6 April 1942, AG 45 r 
(4-4-42), MO-SP-M. See also Ann Rpt QMG, 
FY 4 a, pp. 6 5 ff. 



Dukw, 2'/2-Ton Amphibian Truck, leaving the water with cargo, Noumea, New Cale- 
donia, April 1943. 

closely with the New York firm of naval 
architects, Sparkman and Stephens, Inc., 
and the Yellow Truck and Coach Manu- 
facturing Company, soon produced a pilot 
model that performed so well in tests that 
several hundred were ordered. 86 

The new swimming truck took its nick- 
name, Dukw or Duck, from its amphibious 
qualities and from its manufacturer's code 
— D for 1942, U for utility, K for front- 
wheel drive, and W for two rear driving 
axles. It consisted of a watertight body on 
a 2-1/2-ton truck chassis. Thirty-six feet 
long and eight feet wide, it could accom- 
modate fifty men or an equivalent load of 
supplies. While on land it used its six 
driving wheels and conventional steering 
gear; in the water it used a marine pro- 
peller and a rudder. To avoid getting 
stuck while entering or leaving water the 
driver could shift controls to provide both 
wheel and propeller drive. Standardized by 

Ordnance in October 1942, the Dukw was 
used successfully at Noumea in March 
1943, and by General Patton's Seventh 
Army in its attack on Sicily a few months 
later. General Eisenhower reported the 
Dukw to be "invaluable." 87 

80 The NDRG phase of the development, as 
well as the Army's — and Navy's — lack of interest 
in the Dukw, are presented briefly in Baxter, 
Scientists Against Time, Chapter XVI, and in 
far greater detail in Summary Technical Report 
of NDRC, Division is, Transportation Equipment 
and Related Problems (Washington, 1946), Chap- 
ters 3 and 4. See also Milton Silverman, "Three 
Men in a Dukw," Saturday Evening Post, Volume 
218, Number 42 (April 20, 1946) and .An Ac- 
count of the War- Time Activities of GMC Truck 
and Coach Division of General Motors Corpora- 
tion, 1945, OHF. An 11-page account of the 
Dukw's history written in February 1944 may be 
found in RCS 19, Transportation Corps Historical 
Program file, Amphibian Vehicles in World 
War II. 

87 (1) OCM 18950, 1 Oct 42; (2) OCM 19059, 
22 Oct 4a; (3) Col. Edwin S. Van Deusen, 
"Trucks That Go Down to the Sea," Army Ord~ 



The success of the Dukw in its first 
combat test soon led to an increase in 
requirements. In November 1943 the War 
Production Board wired Yellow Truck and 
Coach Manufacturing Company that 
Dukw production was "of utmost urgency 
in the war program." 88 Ordnance was 
authorized to request overriding priorities 
to help any manufacturer meet his sched- 
ules. From 4,508 in 1943, production 
rose to 11,316 in 1944 before tapering off. 
All told, 21,147 Dukw's were purchased 
before the end of the war. They were all 
produced by the Yellow Truck and Coach 
Division of General Motors. 89 

Lack of experience with this type of ve- 
hicle and the haste with which it was put 
into production led to a long series of de- 
sign changes. So many engineering changes, 
including substitutions to save critical 
material, were made during the production 
period that some engineers remarked that 
no two Dukw's were ever built exactly 
alike. The Dukw was not a particularly 
complicated vehicle, but it did present 
some unusual manufacturing problems 
such as fabrication of the sealed tubes 
through which axles and propeller shafts 
pierced the hulls. The worst problem with 
the Dukw was maintenance in the field. 90 

Crisis in Heavy-Heavy Trucks, 

During the first six months of 1943 
truck production moved along at a fairly 

nance, XXV, ■ No. 141 (November-December 
'943 )» 557; {4) Paraphrase of secret Msg from 
Algiers, Eisenhower to Marshall, No. 86, CM-IN 
-9804 (14 Jul 43); (5) Ltr, Gen Marshall to 
Bush, OSRD, 22 Jul 43, copy in OHF; (6) 
Summary Technical Report of NDRC . . . , ch. 
4. See also Colonel Van Deusen's folder marked 
Amphibian Research in Roberts file. A report on 
the Sicilian campaign by Lucas is quoted in 
Memo, CG ASF for Deputy CofOrd, 10 Septem- 
ber 1943, sub: Report on Motor Vehicles in 
Sicilian Campaign, OO 451/2038. 

steady pace. Then in July the lightning 
struck. ASF suddenly directed Ordnance 
to double its procurement of heavy-heavy 
trucks (4 tons and up) in 1944 — to pro- 
duce 67,000 instead of something under 
35,000. Fighting in North Africa had dem- 
onstrated the need for thousands of heavy 
trucks to tow big guns and to haul food, 
ammunition, and other supplies for fast- 
moving armies in the field. At the same 
time Ordnance understood that the War 
Production Board was planning a program 
to replace worn commercial trucks in the 
United States and that the Navy would 
require several thousand vehicles in 1944. 
It was a staggering, if not impossible, job. 
As General Christmas observed, "It's going 
to be Subject No. 1, 24 hours a day." 91 
Ordnance officers, not fully briefed by 
their superiors on the justification for the 
huge new requirements, were at first 
skeptical. 02 They knew that manufacture 

B8 Telg, WPB to Yellow Truck and Coach Mfg 
Co., 27 Nov 43, ASF Prod Div, Job 19B, G-1996, 
451.2 Trucks. See also Memo, ASF Director of 
Materiel for CofOrd, 1 Sep 43, sub: Expediting 
Prod of 2-1/2-ton, 6x6, Amphibian Trucks, ASF 
Prod Div files, 19B, G-1996, 451.2 Trucks. 

89 Summary Report of Acceptances Tank- 
Automotive Materiel 1940-45, by OCO-D, p. 86. 

90 (1) PP 47, p. 37; (2) Van Deusen, "Trucks 
That Go Down to the Sea," Army Ordnance, 
XXV, No. 141 (November-December 1943), 
557J (3) Hist, Detroit Ord Dist, vol. 100, pt. 14, 
Contractor History — Chevrolet; (4) Summary 
Technical Report of NDRC . . . , ch. 4. 

01 (1) Rpt, Conf Ord Dist Chiefs, Springfield, 
Mass., 28 Jul 43, p. 5, OHF; (2) Memo, Brig 
Gen Christmas, T-AC, for CofOrd, 2 Jul 43, 
sub: 1944 Prod of Heavy Duty Trucks, with 2 
Incls and 2 Indorsements, OO 451.2/636 (c) ; 
(3) Memo, Rqmts Div, ASF for CofOrd, 26 Jul 
43, sub: Proc of Motor Vehicles, Incl to OO 
400.12/9285 (c) ; (4) Memo, Brig Gen Christ- 
mas, T-AC, for CofOrd, 25 Jun 43, sub: Status 
of Proc for . . . 1944, OO 451/1692- 1/2; (5) 
The Automotive Industry in War Prod. 

05 The Truman Committee was also skeptical. 
See S. Report No. 10, pt. 13, 15 Dec 43, 78th 
Cong., 1st sess., pp. 18-25. 



of more than 67,000 heavy-heavy military 
trucks in 1944, plus thousands more for 
civilian needs, would require Herculean 
efforts by the heavy truck builders and 
their suppliers. In a lengthy memo on the 
matter, General Campbell estimated that 
the new 1944 schedule would cost about 
three quarters of a billion dollars and 
would require the labor of 200,000 men for 
one year. In terms of weight of finished 
material it was equivalent to manufacture 
of r 4,000 medium tanks. General Campbell 
pointed out that in July 1943 only about 
3,000 heavy-heavy trucks had been pro- 
duced and that the average peacetime 
rate was only 600 per month. The new 
program would require approximately 
6,000 per month all during 1944. "It is 
necessary that we be realistic. . . ," he 
observed. "It is my considered opinion 
that . . . [only] 75 percent of the 1944 
heavy truck program will be obtainable 
practically." 93 

One of the worst fears of the Ordnance 
Department was that the truck program, 
in addition to all its other problems, would 
have to take a back seat because of its 
low priority. When there was a scarcity of 
labor, materials, or facilities, trucks "sit in 
the last place following the Navy, Mari- 
time Commission, Air Corps, and combat 
vehicles." 94 These fears, first aroused by 
War Production Board approval of limited 
civilian truck production in May, were 
heightened early in August when WPB 
approved a large, high-priority farm imple- 
ment program. District offices reported that 
in plant after plant farm implements were 
elbowing truck orders out of their regular 
places in the line. 9 "' But when all these 
facts were presented to General Clay he 
merely advised General Campbell that the 
1944 requirements were not based on 
"wishful thinking" and directed that every 

effort be made to meet them. He assured 
General Campbell that action would be 
taken promptly on Ordnance recommenda- 
tions regarding specific bottleneck items. 08 
A few weeks later General Hayes expressed 
the following attitude toward the matter 
at a conference of district chiefs: 

Our job is to meet the Army Supply Pro- 
gram. We are not responsible for the figures 
in the Program. We are responsible that 
production meets those requirements — not 
whether it is adequate or inadequate, 
whether too great or too little. . . . Our 
job is just to meet the program. 97 

With the new requirements in hand, 
Ordnance turned at once to the established 
makers of heavy equipment. These were 
not the Big Three of the automotive in- 
dustry but firms that normally built 
heavy specialized vehicles. Some, like 
International Harvester, were industrial 
giants while others were small firms that 
built only a few hundred vehicles a year. 
Among their numbers were Autocar, 
Brockway, Corbitt, Diamond T, Federal, 
Four Wheel Drive, Kenworth, Mack, 
Marmon-Herrington, Pacific Car and 

93 Memo, CofOrd for CG, ASF, ta Aug 43. 
sub: 1944 Heavy Truck Program, OO 400.12/ 
9218. The same estimate was made by W. B. 
Murphy, WPB Deputy Vice Chairman for Prod, in 
Memo, to Krug, 29 Sep 43, WPB PD 631.241. 

94 Maj Gen Hayes, Min Conf Ord Dist Chiefs, 
Springfield, Mass., 28. Jul 43, p. 5, OHF. 

05 Memo, Lt Col George W. White, T-AC for 
Mclnerney, OCO, 6 Aug 43, sub: Accomplish- 
ment of 1943-44 Truck Program, OO 451.2/ 
1032:. The Truman Committee in December 
1943 criticized the lack of civilian truck pro- 

BG Memo, Maj Gen Clay, ASF, for CofOrd, 31 
Aug 43, sub: 1944 Heavy Truck Program, filed as 
Incl to OO 451.2/805, copy in OHF. For an 
analysis of the problem by the Automotive Div of 
WPB, see booklet, Production . . . 1944 Truck 
Program, 1 1 Oct 43, 

97 Rpt Conf Ord Dist Chiefs, Philadelphia, 8 
Oct 43, p. 1, OHF. 



Foundry, Ward La France, and White. 98 
Most of these concerns were essentially as- 
sembly plants, not highly integrated like 
the Big Three. With the exception of 
Mack, they did not make their own en- 
gines, axles, and transmissions but pur- 
chased them from other companies such as 
Timken-Detroit, Fuller, Clark, Spicer, Eat- 
on, Continental, Waukesha, and Hercules. 
The key to expanding production lay in 
obtaining an increased flow of components, 
chiefly axles, engines, and transmissions, 
but producers of these items were already 
working at full capacity. Axles were the 
tightest item at the start, closely followed 
by transmissions and engines. The short- 
age of heavy-duty engines was so great 
that General Christmas actually suggested 
powering heavy trucks with two or three 
small engines hitched in tandem." 

As time was at a premium, Ordnance 
had to take shortcuts. Plants that had 
never before made working automotive 
parts were converted to meet the emer- 
gency. A notable example was Standard 
Steel Spring of Gary, Indiana, peacetime 
producer of springs and bumpers for pas- 
senger cars, which became a fabricator 1 of 
driving axles. Under a subcontract with 
Timken-Detroit, it took over an idle 
armor plant, retooled it completely, lined 
up scores of sub-subcontractors, and, after 
many delays, finally got into production. 
National Slug Rejectors, Inc., of St. Louis 
switched from slot machines to nondriving 
axles for big trucks, and Kearney and 
Trecker, a machine-tool firm in Milwau- 
kee, took on the unfamiliar job of making 
transmissions. 100 Meanwhile the Ordnance 
Industry Integration Committee for 
Heavy Trucks, formed in March 1943, 
promoted co-operative effort among all